The Europeans will have to look elsewhere than in Norway for an alternative to Russian gas. Second supplier of gas to the European Union behind Russia, the country is already producing at full capacity and cannot increase its deliveries, indeed repeated Tuesday its Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store.
Thanks to its immense offshore deposits, the Scandinavian kingdom covers around 20% of European natural gas needs, compared to 45% for Russia, a country on which the EU now wants to reduce its dependence in the light of the military offensive in Ukraine.
Production cannot change “from one day to the next”
“Norway delivers to the maximum of its capacity. The government is in contact with the companies in charge of production and exports via the gas pipelines, and they are delivering gas at maximum capacity today,” explained Jonas Gahr Store. “We cannot make a decision to increase from one day to the next because (production) is at the maximum on the existing fields”, he added during a joint press conference with the Prime Minister. Polish Minister Mateusz Morawiecki visiting Oslo.
The pair discussed energy ties between their countries as the EU seeks to cut its imports of Russian gas by two-thirds. A gas pipeline, the Baltic Pipe, is being completed between Norway and Poland via Denmark. Completed “towards the end of the year, in October or November” according to Mateusz Morawiecki, it will make it possible to transport 10 billion m3 of Norwegian gas to Poland each year, enough to cover half of its consumption.
“Today, we know very well that we must be independent from Russian oil and gas, and that is why I urge the European Commission and our other Western European colleagues to draw up a roadmap towards the desired objective”, indicated the Polish Prime Minister.
According to the European executive, the EU could completely do without Russian gas “well before 2030”. The United States announced on Tuesday a ban on imports of Russian hydrocarbons and the United Kingdom decided to stop its imports of Russian energy by the end of 2022.