Natural resources and energy
Norway's by far the most important natural
resources are the oil and natural gas found under the
continental shelf offshore. The country has the largest
known oil and gas deposits in Western Europe, and it is
one of the world's largest exporters of oil.
The first Norwegian oil was discovered in 1969 on the
Ekofisk field in the North Sea, just inside Norway's
southern sea border with Denmark. Ekofisk proved to be
one of the world's largest offshore oil fields and the
discovery was followed by a series of large oil and gas
discoveries outside southern Norway.
Major exports by Norway with a full list of the top products exported by the country. Includes trade value in U.S. dollars and the percentage for each product category.
In 1975, Norway produced more oil than the
inhabitants themselves consumed and two years later gas
production began. The Ekofisk, Statfjord, Gullfaks,
Oseberg and Snorre fields accounted for 70 percent of
oil production up to and including 1998. Exports began
in 1996 from the large Troll gas field outside Bergen.
After an accident in Ekofisk 1977, when oil flowed
uncontrollably from one of the platforms, the
environmental movement demanded a halt to further
exploitation. The 62nd latitude was retained for a
period as a northern border, but since large oil and gas
deposits were found even north, production started off
Norway's mid-coast in 1993.
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country of Norway.
Contested extraction in the Barents Sea
Outside Northern Norway, oil extraction was started
in 1997. Large barrels of gas and oil have also been
made in the Barents Sea at the far north. In the SnÝhvit
gas field (including Albatross and Askeladd) outside
Hammerfest, production of chilled, liquefied natural gas
was initiated in 2007. Environmental organizations tried
to stop the project, which is considered to pollute the
Barents sea and significantly increase carbon dioxide
emissions. Gas production was started at Ormen Lange
southwest of Trondheim in 2007. In 2016, Norway gave 13
companies permission to search for oil in a hitherto
untouched part of the Barents Sea.
The expansion of SnÝhvit, Ormen Lange and Kristin
field (between Stavanger and Bergen) has meant that gas
production has increased sharply in the 2000s.
Through pipelines on the seabed, oil and gas travel
to the UK and to the European continent.
The Storting decides who should receive a concession,
that is, the right to exploit a new area. The foreign
companies have largely free hands with the oil they
find, but they have to pay taxes and fees to the
Norwegian state. The former wholly state-owned oil
company Statoil was partially privatized in 2001 and
2006, Statoil was merged and Norsk Hydro's oil and gas
operations merged into one of the world's largest
offshore oil and gas companies. Statoil changed its name
to Equinor in 2018 to signal that the company is active
in the entire energy sector, including renewable energy.
In autumn 2019, Norway's third largest oil field,
Johan Sverdrup, was opened. Around SEK 100 billion has
been invested in the project and the field's capacity
was expected to be close to 660,000 barrels of oil per
day. About two-thirds of the deposits are estimated to
have been mined before 2030. Johan Sverdrup is
highlighted as a climate-friendly project because it is
driven primarily by renewable energy, which is unusual
for the oil fields in the sea, which are usually driven
by diesel generators.
The investment in new oil fields will, according to
the Norwegian oil authority, lead to an increase of the
country's oil production by about 43 percent by 2024.
Norway is not a member of the oil exporting
countries' organization Opec.
Plenty of hydropower
In addition to oil and natural gas, Norway has assets
of iron ore, coal (on Svalbard), lead, zinc, aluminum,
copper and ilmenite (raw material for titanium).
The country has large hydropower resources, and the
electricity supply is almost entirely based on
hydropower. Norway's electricity consumption per person
is among the highest in the world, mainly due to the
aluminum and oil industries, which account for
two-thirds of energy consumption. A lot of electricity
also goes on exports.
Further expansion of hydropower has been stopped by
environmental protests. When the water is low in the
reservoirs, electricity from the Nordic neighboring
countries' nuclear power plants and thermal power plants
is imported through NordPool, the world's only
multinational exchange of electricity.
In international agreements, Norway has pledged to
reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent (from 1990
levels) by 2030. In 2016, the parliament decided that by
2030 the country should be completely carbon dioxide
neutral by financing emission reductions in the world
corresponding to its own residual emissions. Norway has
invested heavily in the population to switch to electric
cars through subsidies such as abolished VAT on fuel and
tax relief. The country has also donated billions to the
UN Climate Fund, where the money goes to support
However, the Norwegian government has been criticized
by environmental groups for not limiting oil and gas
production and for not using the oil fund's resources
(see Economy) to a sufficient degree in climate policy.
In 2016, environmental organizations sued the Norwegian
state for violating the Constitution. The organizations
argued that the decision to allow oil drilling in
previously closed areas in the Barents Sea was contrary
to the promise in the Constitution to protect nature and
the environment on behalf of future generations. In
2020, a Norwegian higher court rejected the
environmental organizations' lawsuit.
FACTS - ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT
Energy use per person
5,816 kilo oil equivalents (2015)
Electricity consumption per person
23000 kilowatt hours, kWh (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions in total
47 627 thousand tonnes (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions per inhabitant
9.3 tonnes (2014)
The share of energy from renewable sources
57.8 percent (2015)
Prohibition on the purchase of sexual services
The Storting votes through a ban on the purchase of
sexual services. The law also applies to Norwegian
Climate settlement in the parliament
Six parties - all except the Progress Party - agree
that Norway will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by
30 percent (compared with 1990 levels) by 2020. They
also agree that Norway by 2050 - preferably 2030 -
should become carbon dioxide-neutral by the outside
world corresponding to their own emissions.
The Foreign Minister survives suicide
Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr StÝre is recovering from
a suicide bombing in Afghanistan's capital, Kabul. Six
people are killed when the hotel where StÝre lives is
attacked. A Norwegian journalist is among the victims.
The Taliban take on the blame for the deed.