Åpning Young Energy Conference

Olje- og energiminister holdt dette åpningsinnlegget på det digitale arrangementet; Young Energy Conference, 18.november 2020.

[Sjekkes mot fremføring]

Thank you for the invitation!

It is a great pleasure for me to be a part of the Young Energy Conference – and to talk about the importance of the oil and gas industry for Norway.

Again, we meet behind a screen, smelling hand sanitizers.

However - restricted travel plans, strict hygiene and digital meetings are just some of the minor challenges our communities are facing these days.

Like in many other areas, the energy sector has been strongly affected by the pandemic. The repercussions will probably follow us for several years, and it is too early to predict all the consequences. 

Since March, the government's primary task has been to prevent the spread of the virus and to mitigate the effects on our society.

Assisting our most important industry is a part of that.

We have done so by introducing a tax-stimulus package - to help the petroleum industry amid declining oil prices. Enabling projects in the pipeline to be brought forward as planned.

And implementing a green investment package, including funding for research and development for this industry.

Yes, - this is all about keeping the wheels in motion and securing jobs.

But there's more to it than that.

It's also about preparing for the future.

We should not lose sight of one of the most fundamental long-term challenges: We need to provide energy for a growing world population, and we need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Changing the huge and complicated global energy system is going to take time.

In a world where we meet the targets set within the Paris Agreement, there is still going to be a significant demand for oil and gas for decades ahead.

On this background, let me share some reflections on the importance of the Norwegian oil and gas sector now, and in the future.

Firstly, in a low carbon society, lower emissions from the production of oil and gas will be important. That is one of the areas where Norway will continue to contribute. I am therefore very much encouraged by the ambitious targets set by the Norwegian oil and gas industry to cut emissions. Presented to us earlier this year.

Our experience is that putting a price on carbon - works. The average carbon footprint of production per barrel on the NCS is about half that- of the global average.

Moreover, Norwegian gas can contribute to a low carbon future when substituting coal. And the UK is a good example of that.

Secondly, we must remember that the industry provides a foundation for other and new opportunities. Such as offshore wind, extracting minerals from the seabed and hydrogen.

And not least, carbon capture and storage – where we have made substantial progress by launching "Longship" – the Norwegian government's CCS project.

It's about solving some of our future challenges, cutting emissions, developing new technologies, and creating new jobs.

Finally, our petroleum resources are, and have been, a blessing for the people of this country. The way we have managed our resources is a true Norwegian success story.

We have built an industry that has brought enormous revenues, supporting a strong welfare society with the highest standards of living.

Spreading the wealth, creating jobs across the country, protecting the environment and working in co-existence with other users of the ocean.

Those reasons have been vital for the public support that this industry has enjoyed in Norway over time.

Going forward, support for the oil and gas industry must rest on more than just creating jobs and wealth.

 

I believe we have more in common than just our age at this conference.

My perspective is of someone born in the mid-1980s.  Coming of age in a time where sustainable development and the awareness of climate change dominates the headlines. This has shaped my thinking.

Most importantly, my perspective is formed by a strong belief in progress for people, and the future of this industry. In a world that becomes greener and greener.

The government's policy is to make sure we continue to produce profitable oil and gas. With reduced emissions.

I am certain that the Norwegian Continental Shelf is a petroleum province for the future. According to the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate we may have only produced half of our expected recoverable resources.

However, that optimism comes with a caution: we need to embrace the times we live in, and we must be prepared to change, evolve and adapt.

We must have credible low carbon solutions and we must cut emissions. This has to happen in a world that is changing faster and faster. Especially when it comes to technology and energy use.

With this in mind, we have started the work on a government white paper – focusing on the long-term productivity of the Norwegian energy resources - to be presented next spring.

The goal is to ensure that our energy resources will continue to provide welfare, jobs and prosperity for the future.

It will cover a wide range of topics, such as:

  • Developing a petroleum industry for the future.
  • The ambition of a fifty percent reduction in emissions from the oil and gas activity by 2030.
  • How to handle the continued electrification of our society – including more offshore electrification projects.
  • Offshore wind.
  • Deepsea mining in Norwegian waters
  • And a roadmap for hydrogen.

Let me also stress that the white paper will be based on the fundamentals of the government's petroleum policy:

  • Maintaining a stable and predictable framework – in order to maximize value creation, employment and fund our welfare society.
  • While providing attractive exploration acreage. Discoveries are the fundamentals for all other activity in the industry.
  • We must also keep up research and development. In order to increase productivity and to reduce costs and emissions.
  • And stay committed to a clean, efficient and profitable production.
  • Finally, Norway is known for our long maritime traditions and for our integrated management of the seas. We have shown in the past - and we will show in the future that the different maritime industries can co-exist.

Our policies have served us well – and will do so in the future.

But let me come back to the white paper we will spend the next months working on.

Your input to this white paper is highly valued – and I have asked our hosts, the Norwegian Petroleum Society, to provide you with details after the meeting.

And let me end with some industry insights.

Many of you will likely – and hopefully – spend the rest of your careers within this industry.

And its future companies – whatever they might look like.

It may sound like a cliché – but in the end it is all about the people.

People who can challenge, develop and improve the energy industries of today – and tomorrow.

This is vital in order to achieve our common goals and to make a difference. We need more energy, and less emissions in the world

You are young – skilled and highly motivated.

You are the people that will confront an economic change – unparalleled in history. Transitioning from fossil to sustainable.

And you are the people that will carry the sustainable society over the threshold in 2050 and beyond.

We will provide the framework and foundation for this work.

You will provide - the difference - itself.

I wish you the best – and I am looking forward to seeing more - of you and from you - in the years ahead.

Thank you so much for your attention!