Paris Climate Agreement Makes Everything Complicated for Norway

Photo: Presidencia de la República Mexicana

The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference ended in Paris yesterday with a historical agreement. 

The conference reached its objective for the first time in history to achieve a universal agreement on methods to reduce climate change in the pact (Paris Agreement), by all the nations of the world. The agreement will become legally binding if it is ratified, accepted, approved or acceded to by at least 55 countries that represent at least 55 percent of global greenhouse emissions. 

The ambitious goals taken in the conference will put Norway, as a leadin oil and gas producer, in a challenging situation. The dispute over the future of the oil industry in the country has already started. 

Liberal Party (Venstre) climate policy spokesperson, Ola Elvestuen said to VG that it will have major consequences for Norwegian oil and gas business and the fossil fuels will be replaced by renewable energy.

– When 195 countries gather to set such ambitious goals for how to bring down greenhouse gas emissions, Norway can not turn its back and continue as before, said  Elvestuen.

She also noted that Norwegian oil market will adapt to the new reality.

On the other hand, she noted the new situation may lead to more demand for Norwegian gas.

She notes that there is now a need and desire to replace coal with gas, and Norway can help here, says Sundtoft to VG.

Norway will continue to pomp oil and gas as before!

Petroleum and Energy Minister of Norway, Tord Lien aggrees that Norway can have a more active role with its natural gas. Moreover, he criticizes those who think Norway should stop new exploration and production of oil in North Sea. He states that the government will pump oil and gas, just like before.

But the new aggreement will bring more compications for Norway in terms of oil production. During the conference, EU introduced its binding offshore safety directive, which will dramtically increase the oil production activities in North Sea. 

Directive was first adopted as a result of the Deepwater Horizon accident in the Gulf in 2010. The directive requires oil companies to take into account so-called worst-case scenarios when they put their contingency plans for development and operation of new oil fields.

So it means much higher costs than today’s current security scheme, which Norway follows today.

According to VG, the costs could be higher in northern areas, where petroleum extraction is already expensive.

 

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