EU lacks a clear gas strategy

Kashagan Oil Field - Kazakhstan

Norway is concerned that the lack of a clear natural gas strategy in the European Union will dampen investor attitudes regarding new fields and developments.

Norway is Europe’s second largest provider of natural gas to Europe after Russia, supplying some 20% of overall gas supplies.

Reuters reported that Norway’s and Energy Ministry said “in Europe investment signals are unclear. As a result of EU policy and lack of an expressed role of gas in these policies, there is an additional political risk concerning future European gas demand,” The report continued, quoting the minister: “This will tend to dampen the gas industry’s willingness to invest in new gas projects – whether production or infrastructure.”

Norway is expected to see gas production levels drop by 2030, though Norway disagrees with this estimate. Norway still has any untapped reserves and so far only about a third of the country’s considerable fields have been developed.

Norway will need to investment and infrastructure, particularly in pipelines and LNG shipping facilities, if it is to develop more of its untapped fields in the future. Companies will need to be sure about the demand for natural gas in Europe over the coming years if investments into developments take place.

Norway hopes to tap reserves located in the north, in the Norwegian and Barents seas.

While Norway backs the EU’s plans to use more LNG terminals to secure gas supplies and reduce dependency on Russia, Norway disagrees with the EU’s plans for joint gas purchases, which could harm competition and work against liberalisation of the gas market.

Norway maintains that diversifying gas through increased use of liquid methods and markets would be the best option for Europe as it seeks to reduce reliance on Russian natural gas.