Norway’s oil and energy minister, Tord Lien, said Tuesday that Norway has “a theoretical capacity” to export 120 billion cubic meters of gas a year to Europe, but is already exporting “about 106 billion cubic meters.” The gap “doesn’t give us much extra gas” to export without cutting into oil production, Lien said.
Tensions resulting from Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine, and veiled threats that Russia would cut gas supplies to Europe have led to requests from EU leaders as to whether Norway could step in to help offset any reduction in Russian gas. Newspaper Aftenposten reported recently that Lien had sent a letter to EU leaders advising them that relatively little was available.
Lien told foreign correspondents in Oslo on Tuesday, though, that “if the situation (between Russia and Europe) should worsen, producers would probably be able to boost gas production to help meet demand.” A warm autumn in Europe combined with full gas storage tanks also may help avert any looming gas crisis this winter.
“I’m sure the (oil and gas) companies will do their best to meet demand,” Lien said. He called it “a great resource” that Norway has gas pipelines to aid gas exports to Europe.