UK Interest in Norwegian Gas 'Set to Grow': Ministers
Norwegian energy minister Terje Soviknes met his UK counterpart Jesse Norman on February 10 for the first time at the Oslo Energy Forum.
The two ministers, who were both appointed last year, jointly stated that: "Norway and the UK share a unique relationship on energy, developed from a long history of close working and innovation across the North Sea.
“Norway is the UK’s most important energy supplier, particularly as an external supplier of gas. British interest in Norwegian gas is set to grow as the UK looks to phase out power generation from unabated coal in the transition to a lower carbon energy mix. Electricity interconnection represents an additional feature in our energy partnership. A stable and market based framework for the interconnector development is important to both countries.”
Norwegian petroleum and energy minister Terje Soviknes (left) and UK under-secretary of state and minister for industry and energy Jesse Norman (photo credit: both governments)
The statement comes as Norwegian upstream regulator NPD February 10 gave its approval to start expanded capacity at the onshore Nyhamna gas process plant, which in turn boosts the giant offshore Ormen Lange's gas export capacity. Such gas flows via the Langeled pipeline to the UK.
Business leaders, politicians and analysts in both Norway and the UK have voiced concerns at how bilateral energy trade and investment will be impacted by the UK's decision to leave the EU and the loss of protection now provided by EU trade agreements. The joint statement is therefore seen as an attempt to reassure markets and investors.
Norway exported 108.56bn m³ to European markets in 2016 by pipe, a new record, according to state subsea gas transmission operator Gassco. It did not break down volumes; however in recent years at least one-quarter of such exports were piped to the UK, much of it via Langeled from Ormen Lange.