Petroleum Minister: ‘It is never dull working here’ / News / The Foreigner

Petroleum Minister: ‘It is never dull working here’. Norway’s Petroleum and Energy Minister Ola Borten Moe is a forward-looking man with considerable resources to manage. In a recent interview with The Foreigner, he says, “I don’t think I’ll ever have just another day at the office.” “The sums of money we deal with here are nothing like those of other ministries. It’s very hard to relate what we do to everyday life because of the number and size of the projects.” Since assuming office in March, the minister has scrutinised Statoil and its Canadian oil sands , travelled with HRH Crown Prince Haakon to the official openings of Statoil and Petrobas’ Peregrino Field in Brazil, Baku’s Caspian Oil and Gas Exhibition, and celebrated Ekofisk’s 40th birthday, amongst other functions. On Friday, the government issued its White Paper on the future of Norwegian oil and gas.

olabortenmoe, norwegianpetroleumandenergyminister



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Petroleum Minister: ‘It is never dull working here’

Published on Tuesday, 28th June, 2011 at 09:02 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last Updated on 28th June 2011 at 10:45.

Norway’s Petroleum and Energy Minister Ola Borten Moe is a forward-looking man with considerable resources to manage. In a recent interview with The Foreigner, he says, “I don’t think I’ll ever have just another day at the office.”

Ola Borten Mo, Oil and Energy Minister
Ola Borten Mo, Oil and Energy Minister
Photo: Berit Roald/Scanpix/OED


No ordinary values

“The sums of money we deal with here are nothing like those of other ministries. It’s very hard to relate what we do to everyday life because of the number and size of the projects.”

Since assuming office in March, the minister has scrutinised Statoil and its Canadian oil sands , travelled with HRH Crown Prince Haakon to the official openings of Statoil and Petrobas’ Peregrino Field in Brazil, Baku’s Caspian Oil and Gas Exhibition, and celebrated Ekofisk’s 40th birthday, amongst other functions. On Friday, the government issued its White Paper on the future of Norwegian oil and gas.

Minister Borten Moe sees value-creation as a keen player in the national and international oil business.

Commenting Ekofisk’s 40th birthday this month, he says, “Ekofisk is one of the biggest Norwegian industrial investments ever. We have spent 1,800 billion kroner on it in the last 40 years, and decided to continue for another 40.”

“Back in 1971, we thought we would only be able to extract 17 percent of the resources, but have managed 52 percent to date. With ‘just’ 48 percent left, this presents a challenge for the future,” he continues.

Recent figures from operator ConocoPhillips indicate Ekofisk has produced 3,778 billion barrels of oil since Phillips Petroleum started operations, and given the Norwegian state 894 billion kroner in taxes.

“It has produced huge amounts and value for Norwegian society,” Minister Borten Moe says.

Coordinated and developmental

On the other side of ‘the pond’ 67 percent Statoil owners the Norwegian government, has reminded the company of its responsibilities in the case brought by the State of Alberta against Statoil Canada Ltd over alleged improper water withdrawals.

How can the government as shareholder be more active in addressing environmental and local concerns, at the same time as balancing these with Norway’s industrial and economic interests?

“We take it for granted that Statoil will follow local and national laws, guidelines, and restrictions as a big and responsible company, wherever they are. Whilst my impression is that Statoil does this, our requirements are that it is carried out in as an efficient and environmentally friendly manner as possible. Statoil also being expected to compete at the cutting edge of hi-technology means it is well-coordinated with these interests overall.”

Norway’s economic interests are also naturally high on the agenda since Statoil went into partnership at Brazil’s Peregrino Field.

The government said both countries have cooperated for a long time on petroleum and energy because of many similarities as energy nations. It launched its new Brazil strategy earlier this year.

Minister Borten Moe declared at the time that, “Norway and Brazil are both major energy nations. We have had a valuable dialogue on petroleum issues for several decades. The Norwegian petroleum industry is well positioned for further growth in Brazil due to its technology, expertise and experience of working on the Norwegian continental shelf.”

“Huge discoveries have been equalling those of the ‘70s and 80’s in Norway. Our 40-year experiences of resource management mean we can add extra value. Brazil and Petrobas are important strategic partners for Norway because they face some of the same challenges as we do,” he says.

According to the minister, Norway’s plant industry exported 80 billion kroner last year, and the government is interested in continuing the development.

Controversial

During his interview, he also talks about human rights and his recent visit to the Caspian Oil and Gas Exhibition in Baku with Crown Prince Haakon, who was invited by the Norwegian government.

Several Norwegian human rights organisations asked HRH to cancel the trip, fearing this could be seen as a royal recognition of President Ilham Aliyev’s harsh human rights-hostile regime.

Why did the government decide to invite the Crown Prince, and what issues did the visit raise?

“I think the trip was very successful, both from what we saw and learnt. You have to understand Azerbaijan is not Sweden, for example, but a former Soviet Republic that has become more of an economic society.

“We have interests in big and important projects for Statoil and Europe. I don’t believe there are any contradictions between industrial development and democracy, human rights, and freedom of speech,” says the minister, stressing what is important is the interaction between business, culture, and politics.

Oil for the future

Regarding the future of Norway’s oil and energy, Minister Borten Moe says, slightly philanthropically, “There is no question the world will need more energy, to pull billions out of poverty and give equal opportunities for people to have rich and good lives. The next generation’s fossil energy will be the answer to that demand, and Norway has both the resources and the expertise required to help make this happen.”

How do you respond to concerns by environmental organisations that 40 new years of Ekofisk will mean another 40 years of greenhouse gases?

“I don’t accept their reasoning. Ekofisk is the answer to how we can produce the future’s energy in an environmentally friendly and efficient way as possible. Furthermore, what with Troll and Ormen Lange and the resources produced there, Europe has the opportunity to terminate using its very polluting coal plants.”



Published on Tuesday, 28th June, 2011 at 09:02 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last updated on 28th June 2011 at 10:45.

This post has the following tags: olabortenmoe, norwegianpetroleumandenergyminister.





  
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