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IP/05/856

Oslo, 6 July 2005

Joint Statement on the meeting between Andris Piebalgs, Commissioner responsible for Energy, and Thorhild Widvey, Norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Energy

Commissioner Andris Piebalgs and Minister Thorhild Widvey at their meeting today in Oslo agreed to further strengthen the energy dialogue between Norway and the European Union and to continue to develop their energy relations and co-operation. At the meeting the mutual interest in close and comprehensive consultations on key energy issues was confirmed. Norway is a major exporter of oil and gas to the European Union and, through the EEA Agreement, an integral part of the EU internal energy market.

Commissioner Andris Piebalgs underlined the importance of Norway as a major supplier to the European Union. "Norway is not only an important energy supplier to the EU, it is a partner in developing an energy policy for Europe to meet the new challenges facing us. In particular, we have a common view on the need not only to develop new sources of oil and gas supplies, particularly in the Arctic region, but also to actively and positively address climate change in a way that provides concrete benefits for our citizens. This can be done notably through better technology such as carbon capture and storage and through energy efficiency, as well as by promoting renewable energy. An effective collaboration between the EU and Norway on these and other energy issues can make a real contribution."

Minister Widvey "confirmed that she shares the overall ambitions of the European Commission and the EU, and underlined that Norway co-operates with the EU through both programmes and directives". "I look forward to the open debate on the new Green Paper on Energy Efficiency" she said.

Regarding the White Paper on Opportunities and Challenges in the northern Areas, Minister Widvey "stated that the paramount aims for the north are to ensure political stability and to ensure sustainable development. The petroleum activities shall contribute to value creation for the nation and the region. This requires an acceptable coexistence with other users of the sea, like fisheries and marine transportation. All human activities must take full account of environmental concerns".

During the meeting, both Andris Piebalgs and Thorhild Widvey underlined the great importance of the energy dialogue between the EU and Norway, reflecting the interests of both energy producers and consumers. This dialogue is founded on the common perception of the key role of energy in achieving the principal objectives of competitiveness, sustainability and security of supply.

Key themes discussed at the meeting included energy efficiency, renewable energy, and security of energy supply, including exploration and production activities in the Arctic area. The two sides also exchanged views on technological developments in the energy sector and relations with other energy producing countries.

With respect to energy efficiency, the two sides agreed to strengthen co-operation and to share best practices, in particular in view of the Commission’s new Green Paper on Energy Efficiency[1] The meeting also confirmed that greater use of renewable energy is a priority for both the EU and Norway.

Moreover, Minister Widvey and Commissioner Piebalgs exchanged information on recent developments concerning security of supply, including the situation on the international energy markets. The Norwegian side presented its new White Paper on Opportunities and Challenges in the northern Areas[2].

With regards to energy technology, the two sides agreed on the importance of pursuing technological developments in the energy sector, for example related to the 7th EU Framework Programme for Research currently under discussion.

One important aspect relates to carbon dioxide capture and storage, including use of carbon dioxide for enhanced oil recovery. Here it was agreed that joint effort is needed to develop cost efficient solutions, the aim being to speed up the progress towards more sustainable energy production and use in Europe. As a concrete step it was agreed that the European Commission, represented by the Directorate General for Energy and Transport, will join the informal forum that has been established by Norway, the United Kingdom and Denmark to exchange information and discuss issues in relation to the use of carbon dioxide for enhanced oil recovery and storage in the North Sea.

The two sides noted that a European research project lead by Norway, includes CO2 capture and storage, as well as enhanced oil recovery, is in an advanced stage of preparation. Both sides welcomed further research in this key area, for example in the framework of the EU´s HYPOGEN initiative.

The two sides confirmed their commitment to meet on an annual basis. The next meeting at Commissioner/Ministerial level should take place in the first half of 2006. It was also agreed that a key theme for that meeting would be the internal energy market, in which Norway fully participates and on which the Commission will carry out a detailed assessment at the end of this year.


[1] ”Doing More with Less, Green Paper on Energy Efficiency”, COM 265 final of 22 June 2005.

[2] White Paper No. 30 (2004-2005) to the Storting on Opportunities and Challenges in the northern Areas.


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