Norwegian Minister Seeks a More ‘Open’ European Energy Market

Norwegian Oil and Energy Minister Ola Borten Moe called for a more “open” European market for the industry as nations in the region debate future policy and the Scandinavian country seeks to increase demand for its gas.

“I’d like to see a more open, transparent and well-functioning European energy market,” Borten Moe said yesterday in an interview. “That means that you allow the mechanisms to work, you allow without regulatory means the most effective solutions to be implemented in the European economies.”

Europe is preparing to debate energy policy for the decade after 2020, needed to remove uncertainty for investors. At the same time Norway plans to boost exploration and recovery rates in its gas reserves by cutting pipeline tariffs for producers.

How the region develops the market after 2020 when current energy targets expire, is “one of the most important debates that Europe has to have over the next few years,” Borten Moe said in Oslo. “If you look at how the European energy markets work today or in my opinion increasingly not work, it’s not good news for Europe. If you do not have a well-functioning and effective energy system, it’s bad news for the whole economy.”

The European Union has a binding goal to cut greenhouse gas emissions 20 percent from 1990 levels, raise renewables’ share of energy output to an average 20 percent and boost efficiency.

“Emissions are up, not good, infrastructure is old, not good, and there are a lot of subsidies for very expensive renewable energy solutions, it’s not good,” Borten Moe said. “And increasingly the different countries are introducing different means of securing their own national energy markets.”

Stable Provider

Norway, outside the EU, seeks to present itself as a stable energy provider after disputes between Russia and Ukraine led to European supply being disrupted twice since 2006 and as conflict in the Middle East interrupts oil supplies. “It was not good that the Russians shut down Ukraine and I think in a lot of capitals they have the idea locked in their minds that the Russians lack security of supply,” Borten Moe said.

Europe should diversify gas sources to North Africa, the North Sea, the Barents Sea, Russia, Azerbaijan as well as onshore developments in eastern Europe, the minister said.

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