Oil Platforms Energy Supply Sparked Heated Debate in the Storting


Photo: NRK

Despite the fact that depleting old fields in the North Sea will be fully in operation for decades, the transition to new fields in the Barents Sea represents a shift in the Norwegian energy landscape. The discussion in the Norwegian parliament, the Storting, reflects the complexities of balancing large energy production with environmental concerns. The decision on whether oil platforms should be supplied with clean energy from the continent or through offshore wind turbines to reduce carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere is pivotal. The agenda also includes the question about whether the oil industry itself should bear the costs of additional electricity production. If the oil industry covers these expenses, it could prevent electricity prices on mainland Norway from rising sharply. The outcome of this debate will have implications for the country's energy policy.

The Progress Party (FrP, 21 MPs), Høyre (H, Conservatives, 36), the Socialist Left Party (SV, 13), the Left Party (V, 8) and the Green Party (MDG, 3) voted for the Conservative proposal. On the other hand, the Reds (R, 8), the Christian Democrats (KrF, 3), Labour Party (A, 48) and Centre Party (Sp, 28) are against, with a total of 81:87 with the total number of deputies in the unicameral Storting 169 members. Thus, the Conservative proposal suggesting that the oil industry itself should fund energy capacities through offshore wind, other emissions-free offshore power generation, or gas flaring followed by carbon capture and storage was rejected. Hadle Bjuland's statement as the leader of the Christian Democrats (KrF) reflects a perspective in the ongoing debate on electrifying oil and gas production facilities. He says that electrification of the continental shelf using energy from land is bad climate policy.

The ruling parties that rejected the project believe the Conservative proposal is actually a massive package of government subsidies for new offshore wind projects for the oil industry. It also creates uncertainty for the oil industry, said Gro Anita Mykjåland, a Centre Party lawmaker. It is completely irresponsible to make such major changes to the basic conditions for actors on the Norwegian continental shelf without carefully assessing the implications for Norway's most important industry, she says. She said there is broad agreement that electrification of offshore oil platforms should be done with alternative solutions rather than electricity from shore.

Source: NRK