EU needs Norway’s natural gas, says Statoil chief


Statoil's Rune Bjørnson, Statoil natural gas senior vice president.
Statoil’s Rune Bjørnson, Statoil natural gas senior vice president.

There is a pressing need to change Europe’s energy policy framework to make it more predictable and market oriented – according to Europe’s second-largest supplier of gas to the EU.

Statoil natural gas senior vice president Rune Bjørnson told a recent conference in Brussels that if Europe is to succeed in reaching its decarbonisation target of 85-90% reductions by 2050, Europe needs to get rid of coal.

The current European CO2 price does not provide an incentive for such a change. In fact, low global coal prices combined with a low CO2 price has seen Europe increase its share of coal in the energy mix.

Bjornson said: “Natural gas is one of Europe’s most important and versatile sources of energy. In a low-carbon future, natural gas has to have a large share in the energy mix.”

He said that ‘Europe’s drive to diversify its energy sources is understandable. Yet, it is important to not lose sight of that Europe is very well supplied and diversified. Further, the region is surrounded by huge natural gas resources.

“A well-functioning market is the best way of attracting this gas to Europe.

“Norwegian gas, of which Statoil produces and markets a large share of, is and will remain an important source of gas supply to EU. It accounts for more than 20% of the demand. The resources are connected to Europe through an extensive and robust pipeline network.

“With this in mind, we think of Norwegian gas as part of European indigenous supply. Our position is clear – we support a single CO2 target with at least 40% emission cuts in 2030, driven by a strengthened and more flexible CO2 emissions trading system. This will help drive emission reductions in the most cost-efficient way.”

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