“Democracies around the world will be strained and global emissions will rise without Norwegian oil and gas,” says the managing director of Lundin Norway.
During Arendalsuka, Kristin Færøvik spoke at GCE NODE’s event entitled “The Future of Energy”. She believes that, while Norway is a small energy nation in global terms, we can still play an important role if we take advantage of our strengths.
“With an open, democratic and responsible shelf, we can impact and develop technologies that change the world. But this cannot happen if we surrender the foundation for achieving such change – 200,000 highly-skilled employees and nearly 300 billion in revenues to the state budget,” says Færøvik.
Negative for the climate cause
Færøvik believes that the Norwegian climate debate tends to turn narcissistic when it comes to dismantling the oil industry, and refers to statements such as the one made by the head of the UN climate panel (IPCC – Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), Hoesung Lee, who said in an interview with NRK during a visit to Oslo last year that “it is entirely possible to carry out Norwegian oil and gas activities while also taking the climate into consideration.”
“How does this jive with the Norwegian environmental movement’s narrative? When we hear this from respected global players, perhaps it’s time to broaden the scope of the Norwegian debate. Different agencies include different volumes of oil and gas in their visions of the future, but all of them presume a certain need – even the UN’s 1.5-degree report,” says Færøvik.
Emissions from oil and gas produced in Norway are half the global average.
Harmful for democracy
Færøvik’s opinion is that stopping Norwegian oil production would have a number of negative consequences – also in a global perspective.
“It would be unwise if the shelves with the lowest emissions stop producing oil. This would not just mean higher emissions, I also think that the world’s democracies will weaken without Norwegian oil and gas,” says Færøvik.
More than four-fifths of the world’s oil and gas resources are in the hands of autocratic regimes. The world’s top ten oil producers include just two democracies; the US and Canada. There are only three democracies among gas producers: the US, Canada and Norway.
“In a democracy like Norway, private property rights and fair allocation principles function in perfect harmony. This is unfortunately not the case in the vast majority of other places around the world where oil and gas are produced. The largest oil producers in the world, or oil nations if you will, operate with an entirely different social model than ours, where resources do not fall to the local population, and are certainly not owned by the people. Not to mention how these assets are not managed for the benefit of future generations,” says Færøvik.
17 sustainability goals
She therefore believes that Norwegian oil and gas make an important contribution as a counterweight to energy delivered by autocratic regimes.
“Now we see how Iran plays on the transportation of oil through the Hormuz strait in its conflict with the US. If Iran should carry out its threats to close the strait, we don’t know how that will affect the price of oil. Analysts have speculated up to 200 dollars, a situation that could have far-reaching consequences throughout society: from higher cost levels in our own industry to the taxi driver in Cairo who has to park his vehicle due to high fuel costs,” says Færøvik.
She emphasises that we are committed to pursue all of the UN’s 17 sustainable development goals.
“We must rid the world of hunger and poverty, achieve peace and security and pledge our commitment to sustainable development. While the climate is often emphasised as the most important aspect, we also have to make sure that people have food on the table, and that they can live in relative safety and security,” says Færøvik.