Norway pledges to increase gas supplies to the EU: “We have started to inflate our exports”

Norway has pledged to sustainably increase gas supplies to the EU, including developing new fields, to help offset falling Russian supplies, Brussels and Oslo announced on Thursday. In a joint declaration, the EU and Norway, which already supplies a quarter of the gas consumption of the 27 Member States, agree to “strengthen their close cooperation in energy”in particular to guarantee additional supplies of gas in the short and long term.

“We have started to inflate our exports, with some companies changing their plans” to redirect deliveries to the EU, and “in the long term, this will depend on investments to develop new deposits”explained the Norwegian Minister of Energy, Terje Aasland, on a visit to Brussels.

“Norway will do what it can to support the EU in the face of our lack of gas… and to ensure that we have enough to face next winter. Its commitment is very clear”reacted to his side Frans Timmermans, Vice-President of the European Commission.

In retaliation for EU sanctions following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Moscow has reduced its gas deliveries to Europeans, who are very dependent on it, pushing them to urgently seek alternative suppliers.

Significant capabilities at sea

No volume targets with Norway and no timetable were disclosed on Thursday. Discussions led by the energy companies are still ongoing, according to Mr. Timmermans. Norway has in the North Sea “significant hydrocarbon reserves” and, if it continues the development of new deposits, it “will be able to remain an important supplier of Europe in the long term, after 2030”, says the statement, with the EU committing to “support further exploration and investment”.

Currently, we are producing at 100% of our capacity, but we are looking to the future. (Norwegian) gas and oil will be important for Europe’s energy security in the next decade”argued Mr. Aasland.

The agreement reached also provides for cooperation on “offshore renewable energies”carbon capture and storage, and decarbonized, so-called “blue” hydrogen (produced from gas but capturing CO₂), he recalled.

Thus, for Frans Timmermans, this agreement will not prolong the EU’s dependence on gas or jeopardize its climate objectives.

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