Iranian Oil ,Gas and Petrochemical Products Exporters' Union

Norway’s oil dominates ‘climate election’

Norway’s oil dominates ‘climate election’
Western Europe’s largest petroleum producer faces pressure to switch direction
Norway’s voters are to give their verdict next week in what has become a “climate election” — jolted into life by the UN report last month that issued a stark “code red” over the impact of environmental change. The UN report has forced Norway to examine a big contradiction at the heart of its economy. The country is one of the largest proponents of green solutions such as electric cars and carbon capture storage: seven in 10 new cars sold last month in Norway were fully electric. But the nation is also western Europe’s biggest petroleum producer, with a huge sovereign wealth fund built on the back of oil and gas output. That dissonance is being tested in the parliamentary election on Sunday and Monday. Support is rising for the Green party, which says it will only join a government that promises an immediate halt to oil and gas exploration. The two other main parties campaigning on climate, the Socialist Left and Liberals, are also rising in the polls. The Greens’ membership numbers have jumped by a third in just a few weeks. “It was a game-changer for Norway when that UN report came out. It is now the most important seven days in Norway’s history,” said Kriss Rokkan Iversen, deputy leader of the Greens. Espen Barth Eide, energy spokesman for the centre-left Labour party, agreed: “This is clearly the climate election, even more than people thought it would be.” Labour leads in polls but oil is likely to be an obstacle to a viable coalition. Norway’s two biggest political parties — Labour and the centre-right Conservatives of prime minister Erna Solberg — stand firmly behind the oil industry, which is responsible for about 160,000 direct jobs, or about 6 per cent of the total. Tina Bru, the Conservative oil and energy minister, is firmly against ending exploration or setting an end date for Norway’s petroleum production, arguing for doing more to cut global demand. “We are preparing for a future with less demand for oil and gas, we’re building new green industries, but we won’t get there by hurting our economy, destroying jobs and dismantling an industry,” she said. Eide said: “We want to undermine the prospects for a long-term oil industry rather than closing the supply.” Norwegian oil production has risen in recent years following the discovery of the giant Johan Sverdrup field in the North Sea. It is set to fall again from 2025 or so. Solberg told the Financial Times this summer that she would not act to accelerate that decline but that Norway was on a gradual “shift” to green industries. Following a tax tweak last year that helped the oil industry, Solberg’s government this month proposed another complicated fiscal change that appears mildly positive in the short term for most companies active in Norway, while making speculative exploration costlier. “It’s a sign that the oil market in Norway is becoming mature and is only attractive to fewer companies. But the worry is that this is the second change in two years after years of stability; it shows how oil could become more of a political football,” said a senior executive at an oil company active in Norway. For the Greens, the tax debate is a sideshow. As well as ending exploration, they also want to halt production by 2035. Iversen said Norway was a petroleum pioneer in the 1960s and 1970s but did not have the same spirit for the “green shift” with, for instance, the world’s largest wind farm developer found in neighbouring Denmark. Of the willingness to stick by the oil industry, she said: “It’s a question of feeling and identity for many Norwegians. I don’t think it’s rational.” Defenders of the oil industry have also stepped up their rhetoric. Sylvi Listhaug, the leader of the populist Progress party, this summer posted a social media picture of her filling her car up, with the caption: “Lovely with the smell of real fuel.” Eide said Labour, under leader Jonas Gahr Store, would not go into government with a party that insisted on stopping exploration or production. However, its two favourite coalition partners — Centre, and the Socialist Left — hold almost opposing views on Norway’s biggest industry. Eide said a compromise was possible, avoiding over-investing in oil but refusing to put an end-date on either production or exploration. He also hinted that contentious exploration in the Barents Sea, inside the Arctic Circle, could end as companies such as state-controlled Equinor favour proven areas in the North and Norwegian Seas. Labour is likely to have a much more interventionist industrial policy as it attempts to speed up the green transition. “It has clearly gone too slowly. The pace does not fit with the remaining time,” Eide added. Martin Sandbu see Opinion
Sep 8, 2021 09:56
financial times |

Comments


Sender name is required
Email is required
Characters left: 500
Comment is required


تصویر نمادالکترونیکی

About Us

The section of oil, gas and petro-chemistry is the up-most and first industrial vantage of the country and the pivot of the Economy of Iran. Regarding the importance of this section and the need for coordinating and organizing the most active people in the field of production and exporting oil ,gas, and petrochemical products ,some forethoughtful and job- makers in the private section of the country decided to come together to fight against the threats by using the opportunity of mass intelligence and potentials.