US urges Norway to boost oil production
John Doyle Ong, the US' ambassador to Norway, wants both Norway and Russia to boost their production of oil and gas.
He reportedly supports more offshore oil exploration and speedier development of the new Snow White gas field.
Prices for both oil and gasoline at the pump have skyrocketed in the past two years, especially since the United States invaded Iraq. Now the man representing US President George W. Bush in Norway wants the Norwegians to do their part in boosting supplies of the precious commodity.
He notes that neither Norway nor Russia are members of OPEC, and are thus not bound by OPEC production
"We like competition," he told.
Ong thinks Norway should be doing more to increase its own production levels. He said Norway should "solve its problem" of limited exploration in its own territory and solve conflicts with Russia over the so-called "grey zone" in Arctic territory. Oil company efforts to launch drilling in the waters off Lofoten were recently halted, largely over environmental concerns.
US officials have long urged Norway to increase its exploration and production of North Sea oil. Ong notes that his
own country faces an oil deficit, nor is it producing enough natural gas. The Americans are thus keen on friendly
countries, such as Norway, providing new supplies.
Ong noted, however that "we are not in a position to put pressure on anyone," adding that his job simply is "to report."