Opening speech by Prime Minister Erna Solberg at a high level energy seminar in Mexico City, 13 April 2018.
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The global energy system is changing.
The geopolitics of energy are changing.
To give you a few examples.
The resurgence of oil and gas production in the United States.
The decline in the cost of renewables.
The growing electrification.
These are all changing traditional ways of meeting energy demand.
And change is coming fast.
We are witnessing an energy sector that is undergoing a major transition.
We can see this in Norway, where Statoil is working towards a future where energy is affordable and sustainable for all.
The company is developing products and services across a wide range of energy sources.
One example is offshore wind parks that use technology and equipment from the petroleum sector.
There are multiple challenges.
The world needs more energy.
The International Energy Agency believes global energy demand will grow by 30 % over the next 25 years – due to population growth and higher standards of living.
We need to secure access to energy for everyone.
At the same time, we need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
We need to achieve both the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the goals agreed upon in the Paris Climate Agreement.
To put it simply: we need more energy, and we need cleaner energy.
Norway can contribute on both fronts.
While Norway is a small country, we are a big actor when it comes to energy.
We have natural resources that most countries would envy. Our domestic power supply is from renewable and flexible hydropower.
Globally, however, we are probably best known as a producer and exporter of oil and gas.
And we know that oil and gas will continue to be important, even though renewables are growing rapidly.
Today, the petroleum sector accounts for a substantial part of our GDP and state revenues.
Norway has built up a sovereign wealth fund with these revenues.
Today the fund is worth more than 1 000 billion US dollars or almost 200 000 US dollars for every Norwegian.
At the same time, we are working to comply with our climate commitments under COP21.
So environmental sustainability in our offshore activities is crucial.
We will continue to be a major oil and gas producer; but we will also continue to be a strong global advocate for climate change mitigation.
The basic principle guiding the management of the Norwegian energy sector is that the resources belong to the Norwegian people and should benefit society as a whole.
The Government regulates the sector by ensuring stable and predictable framework conditions.
Within this framework, companies are responsible for their day-to-day operations. This system has served us well.
Our offshore operations are subject to strict health and safety requirements, as well as effective measures to limit emissions of greenhouse gases.
As a result, emissions from the Norwegian shelf are lower than the world average.
Further reducing emissions is a top priority.
This is important, because our shelf still offers great potential.
After 50 years of oil and gas activities, more than half of our petroleum resources are yet to be exploited.
But our petroleum sector did not develop by itself.
50 years ago, the presence of international companies was crucial.
And still today, international players are making an important contribution to the further development of our petroleum industry.
In response to the tough conditions in the North Sea, Norwegian suppliers have developed technology, skills and services that are sought after globally.
This technology is also serving as a platform for developing new industries – in the renewables sector, in sea-bed mining, in offshore aquaculture, to mention but a few.
Our service and supplier industry is now our second largest, with 35 % of its turnover coming from international markets.
NORWEP – Norwegian Energy Partners – promotes internationalisation of the Norwegian oil and gas supply industry.
We can see great potential in this respect, not least here in Mexico.
This seminar is an excellent opportunity to further strengthen ties between Mexico and Norway in the energy sector.
Closer cooperation and increased exchange of skills and expertise is in the interests of both our countries.
Cooperation is crucial if we are to meet the great challenge we are facing – providing a rapidly growing world population with access to energy, and at the same time ensuring that our carbon footprint is as small as possible.