Norway’s Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre will discuss long-term supply deals with gas producers on Thursday, aiming to help stabilise pricing on gas sales to Europe.
EU leaders have started negotiations with Norway to reduce gas prices and mitigate the financial damage caused by the disrupted Russian gas supply.
“From the outset, Norway has done all it can to alleviate the situation in Europe, and Norwegian companies have substantially increased their natural gas production,” Støre said.
On Tuesday, the Norwegian Ministry of Oil and Energy announced that 26 energy companies have applied for approval to drill for oil and gas in Norway’s specified areas licencing round this year.
Before the war, Russia supplied 40% of Europe’s gas. Russia cut off supplies, blaming Western sanctions. According to Støre, Norway has surpassed Russia as Europe’s leading pipeline gas supplier.
Støre blamed the cutbacks on technical issues caused by Western sanctions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. “Norwegian gas supplies to Europe have risen by 8 % since the start of the war,” he said.
At an emergency summit on 30 September, EU energy ministers will plan to integrate new bloc-wide measures to reduce rising gas and power prices.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told the European Parliament: “We need to keep working to lower gas prices. I have agreed with Prime Minister Støre to set up a task force. Teams have started their work.”
Støre stated that it is in Norway’s and the EU’s interests to create a more balanced energy market. He said: “We will approach these discussions with an open mind, but we are sceptical about introducing a price cap on gas. This will not solve the fundamental problem, namely that there is a shortage of gas in Europe.”