Norwegian energy trade group sees win in recent elections

Prime Minister Erna Solberg not expected to make any major policy changes during her next four years in office.
By Daniel J. Graeber  |  Sept. 14, 2017 at 7:06 AM
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Sept. 14 (UPI) -- A trade group in Norway said the extension of the tenure for Prime Minister Erna Solberg was a vote in favor of a stable framework for oil and natural gas.

Solberg's Conservative Party lost three seats in the 169-seat Parliament and is expected to sit down to form a new coalition with the majority Labor Party, the Progress Party, which holds 27 seats, and Christian Democrats, which hold 8 seats in the new government. Solberg's party holds 45 seats.

A spokesperson for the Norwegian Oil and Gas Association told UPI that four of the largest parties -- Labor, Conservative, Progress and Center -- are pro-industry and will ensure stability for the energy sector.

"We are satisfied that a large majority of the voters support a policy that ensures stable framework and an active oil and gas industry," Tommy Hansen, the head of the group's industry policy, said.

Hansen added that Solberg wasn't expected to make any major policy changes over the next four years.

Norway is one of the largest oil and natural gas producers in the world and, apart from Russia, the top exporter to the European market, designating nearly all of what it producers offshore to the foreign market.

Preliminary figures from July, the last full month for which data are available, show total average daily production of oil, natural gas liquids and condensate, an ultra-light form of oil, was 2 million barrels, an increase of 93,000 bpd from the previous month. A report from the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate said total discovered and potential resources are up more than 40 percent since 1990. With 50 years behind it, the NPD estimated Norway is not yet at the halfway point as a producer.

For the economy, Statistics Norway, the country's record-keeping agency, said the producer price index from July to August improved by 0.4 percent, reversing a trend for the previous five months.

"Higher prices on crude oil, petroleum products and extraction services were the main contributors for the rise," the agency said in a statement.

In an address to the European Parliament in June, Solberg put climate change on the same footing as terrorism when it comes to global threats. Statoil, co-owned by the government, is one of the larger oil and gas companies in the world, but has a solid foundation established in the wind energy sector.

"It is interesting that the parties who want call for an end to Norwegian petroleum exploration, among them the Green Party, delivered worse elections than expected," Hansen added.

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