Åpning International Energy Forum
Tale/innlegg | Dato: 03.11.2021 | Olje- og energidepartementet
Olje- og energiminister Marte Mjøs Persen åpnet International Energy Forum den 2. november 2021
Thank you so much for your kind introduction.
And, for the invitation to attend the International Energy Forum Summit.
Being Norway's Minister of Petroleum and Energy is in many ways a privilege.
We are one of the great world powers when it comes to energy.
Nature has given us the opportunities.
For more than a century we have developed hydropower.
In half a century we have become experts in offshore operations.
This has given us specialised skills, coping with deep water, strong currents and heavy wind.
These skills have proved useful when we have moved into new areas.
Skills which also will come into good use in solving the challenges ahead.
Norway is a small country with an open economy – export of goods and services, and especially energy, make up a crucial part of our economy.
We are totally dependent on the world economy – because we have to succeed - out there.
Later, Rystad and the International Energy Agency (IEA) will provide their reflections on the international market outlook, so I will not go into details.
However, the current situation with soaring energy prices, should not be underestimated. It is a major challenge to economic growth.
It brings an important message to all of us: Energy has a vital role for businesses and livelihoods across the world.
And not least, what is perhaps the largest challenge of our lifetime – addressing the climate changes.
Or as Minister of Climate and Environment, Espen Barth Eide, put it before the ongoing COP 26 in Glasgow: "A matchball for humanity."
Adding it all together, what we are experiencing today is at the core of the energy transition: More energy – less emissions.
Our new government has only been in office for less than three weeks.
Let me assure you that these issues are on the top of our agenda.
In our governing platform, our ambitions are clear:
Our policies will have an active approach – creating jobs, increasing export and facilitate for new and existing industries based on our common natural resources.
Such as our petroleum resources.
Coming from Bergen and the west coast of Norway, I know what they mean for jobs and industrial development. Employing about 200 000 people and generating ripple effects all across the country.
Our petroleum industry is with no doubt our most important industry in terms of revenues, investment and exports, as well as jobs. Our attention and ambitions should be accordingly.
So, we will develop, not dismantle, the petroleum industry.
Development means predictability; therefore, the government will facilitate continued high level of activity on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.
However, development also means change.
We will cut emissions and ensure support for a green transition, building on the expertise of the oil and gas industry in new business areas, such as:
Offshore wind: This is currently our largest renewable export. And we know that ship owners, shipyards and equipment suppliers are increasingly turning their attention to this growing market.
In this respect, the Norwegian government will place its efforts through an ambitious national strategy for offshore wind, including commitments to the supplier industry, regulations and a grid infrastructure on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.
And not least, we will continue the work on opening areas for offshore wind.
Another factor in the green transition is carbon capture and storage
Yesterday, I had the pleasure to visit the Northern Lights facility at Øygarden.
What I already knew, and certainly learned there, is that CCS - carbon capture, and storage- is part of the solution to the climate challenge.
CCS can also make an important contribution to the development of new and green industries, such as carbon neutral cement production and hydrogen.
Our ambition is then to follow up the Longship-project and invest in CCS to cut emissions and create jobs.
And finally, hydrogen.
This is an energy carrier with low emissions and with opportunities for value creation and employment.
The government platform aims to:
- Build a coherent value chain within hydrogen where production, distribution and use are developed.
- Set a goal of annual production of blue and green hydrogen by 2030.
- Consider establishing a state-owned hydrogen company.
- And use instruments that will be central in the development of hydrogen, such as the CO₂ tax, access to long-term capital, and the use of public procurement.
During this conference, various sessions will be dedicated to these topics – as well as solar and hydro power.
My point is that cutting emissions, is also about creating new jobs and opportunities in international markets.
There is a connection – not a contradiction.
Going forward, our starting point is near perfect:
- We are Europe´s largest producer of hydropower.
- We have the highest share of electricity produced from renewable sources in Europe.
- And today we sell energy and expertise to every corner of the world.
However, neither waterfalls, oil, or fish for that matter, built Norway.
It was built by you - people and companies who have seen opportunities and used their knowledge in harvesting the resources – and found markets or partnerships abroad for their services or products.
This is well documented in the reports from Rystad and Multiconsult.
We also know that green exports are focus areas for our energy industries.
For many of these new industries, such as offshore wind, hydrogen, CCS and more, a majority of their markets is beyond our borders.
The question remains, and what this conference aims to find out:
How can we use these decades of learnings to accelerate the development of offshore wind, power systems, hydrogen and CCS solutions to benefit the world's quest for a net-zero energy industry?
And not least, how can the government make this happen?
Developing the petroleum industry and strengthening renewables is of course obvious. Let me add that exports and business are equally important , and central elements in our government platform.
Our ambitions are:
- Strengthening the trade balance with other countries.
- Increasing Norwegian exports.
- And find ways to improve our business-oriented policy apparatus.
Let me finish this list by pointing to some under-communicated, yet important policy instruments:
Such as Eksfin, Export Finance Norway, ensuring that Norwegian export industries are financially competitive abroad.
Or Innovation Norway, assisting our businesses to grow and find new markets.
Finally, I want to take this opportunity to thank Norwegian Energy Partners not only for hosting us here today, but also for contributing to the internationalisation of Norwegian energy industries.
Bringing together asset owners, technology suppliers, service companies and governments. And not least, covering a wide range of energy related technologies, services and markets.
You are indeed a trusted and important partner and advisor both for us and our businesses abroad.
I believe the government has a role to play when we prepare ourselves for a sustainable future, by providing policies and frameworks.
Our history makes us strong. Yet international competition is hard.
However, I know that our unique position, our legacy and our strengths, will be of benefit to Norwegian businesses with ambitions to expand in the international market.
The Norwegian government offer policy instruments that work.
Yet it is the industry itself that has to ensure profitability and investments in the long term.
With your perfect starting point, your strong characteristics and drive, I believe we have every reason to be a great energy nation in the years to come.
I wish you all a successful International Energy Forum.