Norwegian oil company Statoil can deliver more gas to Europe, and specifically to embattled Ukraine, if the need arises, company officials said this week. It may, if Russia’s military intervention continues to escalate and Russian leaders resort to turning off their own gas supplies to Ukraine and western Europe.
As tensions continued to rise this week, after Russian President Vladimir Putin sent tens of thousands of Russian troops into Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, questions arose over Norway’s capacity to replace any cut-off in Russian gas supplies. The company responded that, as the largest gas producer on the Norwegian continental shelf, it was possible to increase gas deliveries into Europe.
“There is capacity to deliver more gas from Norwegian fields,” Morten Eek, information chief at Statoil, told newspaper Aftenposten. “But we don’t want to speculate on whether there will be a need for that as a consequence of the situation in Ukraine. The evaluations we make around gas production are based on the market situation for gas.”
Norway delivered around the same amount of gas to the EU in 2012 as Russia did, with Norwegian gas amounting to 35 percent of the EU’s imports.
The Norwegian government remains Statoil’s largest shareholder, but refrains from getting involved in the day-to-day operations of the company. The government has, however, condemned Russia’s military intervention and escalation in Ukraine and called on Putin to withdraw Russian troops, claiming their presence represents a violation of international law and violates Ukraine’s territorial integrity.