Parties agree on 2022 Utsira power plan

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The parliamentary energy and environment committee agreed on Wednesday that all oil platforms in the Utsira High field would be powered by shore-based electricity by 2022 at the latest. It was a concession by the opposition parties, who formed an unexpected majority last month to demand work begin to facilitate full electrification of the field from the start of construction.

The opposition parties had initially demanded the electrification groundwork for the entire field begin “from the first day” of work on Johan Sverdrup, the first of four platforms to be constructed in Utsira High with production expected to start in 2019. Statoil and the government had only committed to powering Johan Sverdrup with shore-based electricity during the first development phase.

Then the parties’ wording became a more vague “during the start-up phase” reported newspaper Aftenposten. Late last month, the Labour Party broke ranks with the other opposition parties, and said it now supported the government’s proposal to hold off on electrification until phase two of the development.

The committee finally settled on “as fast as possible, and at the latest in 2022” and presented it to parliament on Wednesday. “We are very clear that the first building stage of Sverdrup will not be postponed, which Statoil has been concerned about. There is no reason for that now,” said Labour’s energy policy spokesman Terje Aasland, who made no apology for his party’s backflip. “What I was clear on, was that (Oil and Energy Minister) Tord Lien began to refer to an area solution that would be possible to implement without great risks to the project. I though it was a partial victory, at least, and I believe that what we can present now is a good decision.”

newsinenglish.no staff