Historisk arkiv

The 5th Energy Conference between Norway and the EU

Historisk arkiv

Publisert under: Regjeringen Solberg

Utgiver: Olje- og energidepartementet

Minister of petroleum and Energy Tina Bru held this speech at the 5th Energy Conference between Norway and the EU called 'Getting fit for 5 - Energy and the European Green Deal' on October 1st 2021 in Brussels.

Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Tina Bru, spoke at the 5th Energy Conference between Norway and the European Union together with EU Commissioner for energy, Kadri Simson, in Brussels on October 1st 2021. Foto: Margrete Løbben Hanssen/OED

Checked against delivery. 

Dear Commissioner,
Distinguished guests;

It is a pleasure to be able to be here physically today after a challenging period of a world pandemic and travel restrictions.

In September 2019, Norway and the EU together hosted the European High Level Conference on CCS in Oslo. In spite of the challenges we have endured since then, we have seen significant development in our cooperation. I am grateful for finally being able to meet some of you here in person: To express gratitude for our cooperation, and lay grounds for a further, common way forward.

The Agreement on the European Economic Area – the EEA Agreement - is our cornerstone framework. Since 2019, our cooperation on the electricity and gas market, as well as climate action, has developed.

Energy is at the heart of the EU – Norway cooperation. We are a key import source for natural gas to the EU and our power system is highly connected with the network of our EU neighbours.

The renewable share of Norwegian electricity production is approximately 98 per cent, and in 2019 the overall renewable share amounted to almost 74 per cent. Hydropower is the backbone of the Norwegian power system. Our cooperation contributes to security of supply, and to increase the share of climate-friendly energy in Europe.

Natural gas is a crucial part of Europe's energy mix. Market developments this year demonstrate how important gas is. Demand for gas has been strong and gas prices have risen to record high levels. This has contributed to power prices also hitting record highs and raised concern for energy security ahead of the coming winter. The high prices signal that the market needs more investments and supplies of natural gas.

Norway accounts for 20-25 percent of the EU's gas supplies.
We have the resources and infrastructure needed to remain a long-term reliable and competitive supplier of gas to Europe.

Naturally, in the longer-term we will need to explore and make new discoveries.

Natural gas and other gaseous fuels can play a constructive role in the energy transition. Gases are easy and cost-efficient to store over long timespans. Natural gas enables the phase-out of coal in Europe. Gas is also a flexible back-up for wind and solar and thereby provides security of electricity supply.
In the long-term, natural gas combined with CCS can be a source of low-carbon hydrogen in hard to abate sectors.

I strongly believe that the revision of the gas market rules now being worked out by the Commission, should have a technology neutral approach to ensure that all gases can compete on equal and fair terms in the marketplace.

I strongly believe that the revision of the gas market rules now being worked out by the Commission, should have a technology neutral approach to ensure that all gases can compete on equal and fair terms in the marketplace.

In June 2021, the Norwegian Government adopted a white paper on long-term value creation from Norwegian energy resources.

The white paper sets out how Norway can use its energy resources for continued economic growth and new jobs in the years ahead.
Following a general election in Norway on the 13 September, a new government will enter into office in the near future. Matters relating to climate and energy will surely remain key also to the next Norwegian government.

Offshore wind represents a new promising industry in Norway.
The deployment of offshore wind should be market based. Further technology development, and enhanced research and innovation is also crucial. Both floating and bottom-fixed offshore wind provide interesting business opportunities.

Norway participates in the North Seas Energy Cooperation (NSEC). Cooperation on offshore wind and grids in a regional context is key.

The white paper also presents a roadmap for hydrogen. The long-term vision presented in the roadmap is that by 2050 a market for the production and use of hydrogen will have been established in Norway. To achieve this the roadmap presents specific ambitions for maritime hubs, industrial production, transportation and multiple pilot projects in the short and medium term.

We consider a technology neutral approach essential. Whether based on electrolysis or natural gas reforming with CCS, the main goal should be to produce sufficient volumes of renewable and low carbon hydrogen. The emergence of a market will ensure production in the most efficient way possible.

I am very pleased to see a steady increase in projects in Norway that will contribute to safe production and use of renewable and low carbon hydrogen. Continued international cooperation on hydrogen will be important to succeed with our common ambitions.

The white paper also mentions the future of the CCS project, Longship.

Construction work has started. From the second half of 2024 the facilities will start capturing and permanently storing CO2.

The transport and storage operator, Northern Lights has decided to drill a second well already next year, subject to administrative processes. This will ensure storage capacity of 1.5 million tons CO2 per year in phase one. And recently Northern Lights announced ambitions to increase capacity beyond 5 million tonnes of CO2 per year by 2030.

The number of partners to the project has increased from 17 to 36 and the company is already in advanced commercial discussions with industry partners that represent total emissions of 8 to 10 million tonnes per year. These industry partners are dependent on state aid or support from the Innovation Fund to be able to carry out their projects.

In addition to the Norcem project in Norway, which is the first capture project in Longship, Heidelberg Cement is working on seven other CCS projects.

Fortum Oslo Varme is also part of Longship, and involves waste incineration with CCS. This could yield negative emissions, as much of the waste is biomass (BECCS).

Based on specific requests from industry the government announced on September 10 more acreage for CO2 storage for application. Future locations must be monitored and adhere to regulations for safe storage.

The increased interest for CCS may create a need for upscaling the infrastructure beyond Longship and other planned European projects.

For CCS to be a successful climate solution, other countries must start using this technology. Longship and following European CCS-projects are necessary for Europe to meet its objective of climate neutrality.

Sufficient incentives in the EU and at the national level are vital.
Finally, I also wish to mention seabed minerals. The challenges of climate change will increase the demand for both specific resources and clean energy.

Balancing these challenges is at the core of the energy transition. Seabed minerals can provide part of the answer. Minerals are needed for solar panels, wind turbines and batteries. Minerals are known to be present in the deeper parts of the Norwegian Sea.

We have initiated a process for opening areas on our continental shelf for exploration for such minerals. This could, in time, be a field of further development in the EU-Norway cooperation.

We are dependent on good, international relationships. Energy and climate is the foundation for our relation.

We look forward to the continued cooperation.
Thank you for your attention!