Royal Ministry of Petroleum and Energy Royal Ministry of Climate and Environment Royal Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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Royal Ministry of Petroleum and Energy 

Royal Ministry of Climate and Environment 

Royal Ministry of Foreign Affairs 





Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete 


European Commission 

Rue de la Loi 200 

1049 Brussel 








Oslo, 29 January 2016 

Dear colleague, 


In the context of the development of the Energy Union and the forthcoming winter package, 

we would like to reiterate the Norwegian Government's most important points of view in this 



As you know, Norway is a large supplier of oil and gas to the EU and part of the internal 

energy market through the EEA agreement. Our electricity grid is closely connected to those 

of our neighbours, and we are fully integrated in the Nordic electricity market. The 

development of the Energy Union is therefore of great interest and relevance to us. 


We appreciate the EU’s strong emphasis on developing efficient energy markets, with 

adequate infrastructure and legislative framework. These are preconditions for energy 

security, affordable energy and an effective climate policy in Europe. 


Norway is a vocal proponent for carbon pricing. The emissions trading system EU ETS is -

and should continue to be - the main climate policy tool in the EU energy sector. Well-

functioning European energy markets, together with an ambitious ETS, will both facilitate 

increased use of renewable energy sources and support energy efficiency. 



In our view, it will be difficult to achieve a cost effective decarbonisation of the European 

economy without recognising the role of gas. In terms of CO


 emissions, gas is much cleaner 

than coal. By replacing more carbon intensive coal, gas can deliver emission reductions 

quickly. Natural gas can also provide necessary flexibility in a power system where 

intermittent renewable energy sources increase their role. 


Gas hence has the potential to support a cleaner energy system in two ways: by replacing coal 

and by supporting the integration of more renewable energy.

 Increased use of gas in EU 

countries will be supplemental to the development of renewable energy sources in order to reach 

the EU 2030 targets. Carbon Capture and Storage would further strengthen gas as an important 

energy source in a low emission future.






Norway is a long term, reliable supplier of natural gas to the EU – and will remain so. Only 

one third of Norway’s estimated gas resources have been produced over the last 45 years. 

Norway thus has a large pool of remaining gas resources. Over the next 20 years, we expect to 

produce yet another third of our gas resources. This leaves one third available for export 

beyond 2035. 


Our oil and gas is explored for, developed, produced and sold by commercial companies. 

Almost all our gas production is exported, mainly to the EU, in pipelines. Our yearly gas 

export has never been higher than in 2015. The gas export from the Norwegian Continental 

Shelf is expected to remain high and stable in the decades ahead, on average slightly below 

current level.  


A considerable share of our untapped gas resources are located in the Barents Sea. Additional 

gas export capacity from the Barents Sea will be decided during the next decade. This future 

expansion can either be an expansion of the LNG capacity with destination flexibility, or 

a pipeline connection to Europe. Such expansion demands very substantial up-front 

investments. Companies investing in this capacity will make their choice on a commercial 

basis, taking into consideration the prospects for gas in Europe.  


The forthcoming winter package – and the following debate – will be an important 

opportunity for the Commission to recognise the role of gas in decarbonisation of the 

European economy. A clear message from the Commission that natural gas remains important 

for the EU’s energy mix for many years to come, would be a welcome signal to gas investors 

in Norway considering projects that would connect them to the EU market. 




Yours sincerely, 






Tord Lien 

Minister of 

Petroleum and Energy 





Vidar Helgesen 

Minister of Climate 

and Environment 



Elisabeth Aspaker 


Minister of EEA and EU 



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