Norway’s new energy plan: Oil exploration will continue

Erna Solberg - Tina BruPhoto: Torstein Bøe / NTB

Prime Minister Erna Solberg (Conservative Party) believes that the oil peak has been reached for Norway. But exploration will continue.

In the white paper “Energy for Work,” the Norwegian government now states that it will continue current practice with regular licensing rounds on the Norwegian shelf to give the industry access to new exploration areas. 

Profitable oil and gas production will be facilitated, but within the framework of Norwegian climate goals, Minister of Petroleum and Energy Tina Bru (H) emphasized.  

“This will provide a basis for jobs and activity throughout the country also in the future.”

Solberg pointed out that production is expected to fall in the coming years.

“We will maintain the exploration and utilize the resources in the future where it is profitable,” she said.

IEA report

Recently, the government has received a lot of criticism for continuing with oil exploration after the International Energy Agency (IEA) stated in a report that there is no room for new oil and gas fields if global warming is to be limited to 1.5 degrees.  

The Center Party’s (SP) parliamentary representative Lars Haltbrekken accused the government of deliberately heading towards a climate crisis.

“It is absolutely incredible that the clear warnings from the International Energy Agency, not to start any new oil and gas fields, have no consequences for the government’s oil policy. Instead, they choose to ‘drill and drive,'” he said.

“This message welds Norway firmly into the oil age,” agreed Arild Hermstad, acting leader of the Green Party (MDG).

Solberg told NTB that the government aims to keep down to 1.5 degrees as much as possible. But the system in the Paris Agreement means that the emissions are counted where oil and gas are burned, not where it is pumped up, she emphasized.

Will let the markets decide

According to the prime minister, a stop of exploration by a large petroleum producer such as Norway would have to be part of a larger, international plan.

“The countries saying that are the ones that have finished their oil and gas business. It costs them nothing. It costs them no jobs,” Solberg said when she and Bru presented the report.

According to Bru, it is the markets that must decide.

“It will have no effect if Norway as a single country says we’re stopping this. Then others will fill these market shares.”

Industry celebrating

Anniken Hauglie, leader of the interest group Norwegian Oil and Gas, believes that continued exploration is absolutely necessary to avoid a rapid fall in production.

“We are very pleased that the government will continue the main lines of oil and gas policy and are clear that the oil policy is fixed,” she said.

“It provides a basis for the energy resources, also in the future, to create significant values and jobs throughout the country.”

Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews

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