New Norwegian government has environmental issues high on agenda

Oct 16, 2001 02:00 AM

Environmental issues have clearly been high on the agenda as the political basis for the new Norwegian coalition government has been negotiated. Although the parties endeavouring to take office are not entirely clear about all aspects of oil and gas, there is a firm desire to sell state shares in businesses including the energy sector. Further privatisation of Statoil and a further sell-off of state shares in business are on the cards.

Minority coalition partners the Christian People's Party (Krf) and the Liberals (Venstre) are both strongly in oriented towards environmental protection, but there are signs that the Conservatives (Hoyre) have fended off issues that would adversely effect the oil and gas sector. Consequently, the Snohvit field development and LNG project will be moving ahead.
The approach to further exploration and production activities in the Barents Sea and parts of the Norwegian Sea has not been spelled out, but the new administration is certain to come under significant pressure to comply with please from environmental groups for caution and strong restrictions.

Snohvit project partners will be asked to carry out further environmental impact studies. This exercise, however, is expected to be accomplished in time for the project to move ahead as planned. The initiators of the two gas-fired power generation plants which are planned in relation to Snohvit, will be given "incentives to accelerate the development of non-polluting technologies" for use in the plants at some stage.
The government will be highly dependent on the support of the Parliament (Storting) by the right winged Fremskrittspartiet (FrP), which in itself is an insurance that the transformation process and re-organisation of state participation will move ahead.

Source: Hart's European offshore petroleum Newsl/PBI Media
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