(Montel) Norway will maintain elevated gas exports to its European neighbours for the next five years, said prime minister Jonas Gahr Store on Friday.
“It helped us at a very crucial time,” said European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, who accompanied Store on a visit to the country’s Troll platform, with Norway replacing Russia as Europe’s largest individual gas supplier last year, increasing exports by 8%, or 40% of the total, equivalent to 100 TWh.
Asked about gas prices in Europe, Von der Leyen said it was “a manipulated market” with “lots of speculation in it” amid the Russia supply cuts.
The EU was currently planning electricity market reform and a joint gas purchasing platform in which Norway would participate as a supplier in order to ease such volatility, she added.
Norway’s efforts did not stretch to just gas production but also “speeding up the energy transition”, said Store, with the EU aiming to accelerate green growth in order to help it further cut dependence on Russian fossil fuels.
“We have been working very closely with the European Commission to venture into offshore wind, hydrogen, the new energy sources,” he added.
To this end, Norway and the EU were working on an alliance to promote green hydrogen and carbon capture and storage, said the EU president.
Meanwhile, on Thursday a taskforce established by Nato and the EU, which aims at protecting critical infrastructure at sea in light of the Ukraine war, held its first meeting.
Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg said at the same press conference that installations such as the Troll were “important” for the EU's energy supplies and therefore “vulnerable”.
“Nato has been given a stronger role to ensure that this critical infrastructure is safe and secure,” he added, while pointing out naval vessels from Norway and Germany were monitoring the platform during the visit.
“There are also thousands of kilometers of pipes, and we cannot protect every metre of this infrastructure all the time. But we have increased surveillance and the military presence, as well as training more.”