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Aasland excludes gas exploration outside Lofoten, Vesterålen and Senja

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Energy Minister Terje Aasland during the oral question time in the Storting on Wednesday. Photo: Rusten, Ole Berg / NTB

Of NTB | 29.05.2024 13:13:09

Policy: Aasland rejects the possibility that the government will open the field outside Lofoten, Vesterålen and Senja. It was closed in 2001 by the Stoltenberg government for climate reasons.

– This area is protected. We stand by that, said Aasland when he was challenged on a possible reopening in the Storting’s question time.

The Conservative Party announced on Tuesday that they are in favor of a reopening. The rationale is that Norway is a stable and security-politically important supplier of gas to Europe. This does not mean that one should look for new discoveries in the Nordland VI area, but the party wants licenses that have already been awarded to be continued.

This is not relevant, Aasland clarified.

– We have just presented the management plan, so it is out of the question to open that area for activity, he said.

– Is the minister willing to look for a new majority to get a more aggressive exploration policy so that we find more gas, asked Astrup, who described the government’s cooperation with SV as a brake block.

SV was also clear in its condemnation of a possible reopening, which energy policy spokesman Lars Haltbrekken described as “a risky proposal to open up oil and gas operations in our common dinner plate”.

But the invitation was quickly rejected by Aasland, who emphasized that he is well satisfied with the collaboration with SV. The idea of ​​opening gas production at Nordland VI did not represent a new approach either, he believed.

– If this is what the Conservative Party is thinking about, then I am surprised. There is not much creativity or innovation in it, said the energy minister.

The government aims for 10 per cent of Norwegian gas production in 2030 to go to the production of blue hydrogen to be sold to Germany.

Astrup pointed out that the shortcut to energy transition in Germany is via Norwegian gas. And he wondered if Aasland can guarantee the Germans that there will be enough Norwegian gas available to produce blue hydrogen.

– We are going to make it possible for the oil and gas industry to have predictability, so that more gas can be found. And establish it either for the gas supplies, which Europe will depend on, or convert it over, capture CO2 and export it in the form of blue hydrogen, said Aasland.

Aasland was courted by Høyre’s Nikolai Astrup, who believed the government should be willing to rethink gas policy. He outlined that there are opportunities in the Storting if Labor joins forces with the bourgeois side in this matter.

He pointed out that stability and predictability are most important for the oil and gas industry. In this respect, allocations in the mature areas on the continental shelf (allocations in predefined areas – TFO) will be most important, Aasland maintained.

(© NTB)

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