Norway’s centre-left opposition won a majority in parliament after Monday’s general election. The new possible government parties oppose to look for new oil and gas fields, while existing ones shall stay in operation for 5-8 more years. Once those are exhausted, the EU will have to look for new suppliers (if renewables can not replace them by then). Russia will continue to offer itself as an energy supplier in order to try to create dependency. Projects like Nordstream 2 show that some EU members states are willing to accept the Russian offer, underestimating the strategic risks for other EU member states.
To prevent this, the EU should pursue the following:
- Renewable energy should replace fossil fuels, energy projects such as the use of thermal waste should be promoted and new policies adopted. We should no longer be based on fossil fuels in 2030.
- If natural gas is still needed, then suppliers should be diversified (for example, LPG gas)
- Nuclear energy should be considered as fallback security
Norwegian Elections and a Post-oil Europe
Norway is today the second-largest exporter of natural gas to the EU, behind only Russia. Although not an EU member, through EEA and EFTA, Norway plays a significant part in EU energy policy supplying oil and between 18%-25% of the EU’s gas demand. For Norway, oil and gas equals about half of the total value of its exports, making them the most important export commodities in the Norwegian economy.
With a fragmented electorate, though, any Norwegian government coalition building looks to be dependent on the smaller parties, and they are calling for an end to oil and gas exploration. In a surprise move after trailing in the polls and with just two weeks before the election, incumbent Prime Minister, Erna Solberg’s government proposed overhauling how it taxes the companies that extract petroleum.
Some say, the changes risk calling into doubt the stability of the petroleum based foundation of the Norwegian fiscal system and risks upending current EU energy policy. What does this hold for a post-oil Europe and how will it impact the politics of Norwegian oil and gas importers (Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, France, Belgium, Denmark and others)?