Norway's Oil Industry Must Become Emissions-Free, Labor Says

(Bloomberg) -- Norway should set a deadline for its oil industry to become completely emissions-free, the leader of the country’s biggest opposition party said.

The proposal amounts to a hefty ambition to fulfill for Norway’s oil industry, the country’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases by far, even as more offshore platforms are receiving power from shore rather than burning gas for electricity.

“Authorities and the industry must together set a deadline for when the Norwegian shelf is to become fully emissions-free, as the first in the world,” Labor leader Jonas Gahr Store said in the opening speech at the party’s congress in Oslo on Thursday.

The plan comes at a time where Labor’s historical commitment to the oil industry is being questioned. The congress could also vote to end the party’s support for oil activity offshore the sensitive Lofoten islands, a move that would all but bury the industry’s hopes of exploring in the area and could have repercussions beyond that.

Oil and gas production accounted for 14.7 million tons of CO2 equivalents in greenhouse gas emissions in 2017, or 28 percent of Norway’s total. Those figures only include emissions generated in the production phase, not the fuels’ end use.

The Norwegian Oil and Gas Association, the country’s powerful oil lobby, said Norway already produced petroleum with emissions per unit of less than half of the global average, and that Labor’s proposal was a “very demanding ambition.”

“We would be happy to sit down with authorities to find solutions to reduce emissions even further,” the association’s director general, Karl Eirik Schjott-Pedersen, himself a former Labor minister, said by phone.

A spokesman at Equinor ASA, the country’s dominant oil producer, referred questions on the proposal to the oil lobby group.

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