He served as a captain in the army from 1944 to 1945, and civil engineer. From 1946 to 1956 he was a researcher at the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment. He had 41 positions in different government councils, boards and agencies. He served as the Minister of Industry in 1971–1972, in the Bratteli's First Cabinet. From 1973 to 1984 he was the chairman of Statoil.
From 1971 he was a member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. He was also a fellow of the Norwegian Academy of Technological Sciences. He was appointed a Commander of the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav in 1980, and became Honorary Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order in 1982.
Lied died in Oslo, Norway, aged 98.