Norway sees oil in its future despite warnings
Norway, Western Europe’s biggest oil producer, plans to continue exploration and drilling in coming decades, the government said today, despite concerns about its impact on the climate.
In a white book on its energy future, Oslo said it wanted to “extend the current practice with regular concession cycles on the Norwegian continental shelf to give the industry access to new prospecting zones.”
The Norwegian position contrasts sharply with that of the International Energy Agency (IEA), which recently warned that all future fossil fuel projects must be scrapped if the world is to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
“We will supply energy to the world as long as the demand exists,” Petroleum and Energy Minister Tina Bru told a press conference.
“The government will therefore maintain an oil policy that facilitates profitable oil and gas production in the framework of the Norwegian climate policy and our climate goals,” she said.
Keen to present itself as a role model with its efforts to fight deforestation in the tropics and being a world leader in electric car sales, the Scandinavian country aims to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by between 50 and 55 per cent by 2030, and to almost nothing by 2050.
But it is regularly criticised for the CO2 emissions generated abroad by the oil it exports.
While Oslo regularly cites the need for a “green transition”, it still relies heavily on oil and gas revenues for its public finances, trade balance (accounting for 42 per cent of exports of goods), employment (more than 200,000 jobs are either directly or indirectly linked to the sector) and to keep rural Norway populated.
The black gold is also the reason Norway’s 5.4 million inhabitants today have the world’s biggest sovereign wealth fund, worth a whopping US$1.36 trillion (RM5.5 trillion).
This week, Norway also opened new areas for oil exploration and production of petroleum, despite the IEA warning.