By Anders Lorenzen
As Europe is busy trying to wean itself off Russian gas, new gas frontiers are being opened up at home.
Norway, Europe’s biggest gas producer has announced expansion plans for their second-largest gas field, Ormen Lange. Development plans have also been unveiled for two new oil sites, Frosk and Tommeliten, their oil and energy ministry said.
The extension of Orman Lange is expected to increase gas extraction by up to 40 billion standard cubic metres by 2025. The field, located in the Norwegian Sea, will be operated by the Dutch fossil fuel giant Shell whose net-zero plans are unambitious at best. Oil and energy minister Terje Aasland said: “This project helps to maintain the gas supply from Norway to our friends in Europe from the middle of this decade.”
The two new discoveries Tommeliten A and Frosk, are both located in the North Sea; Tommeliten which will start production in 2024 is estimated at 21 million standard cubic meters (MCM) of oil equivalent (of which just over three-quarters is gas) and Frosk’s recoverable reserves are estimated at 1.51 mcm of oil equivalent, most of which is oil.
The move is a kick in the teeth to climate advocates and activists and goes against the advice of climate scientists and the UN that in order to avoid the worst impacts of climate change no new fossil fuel projects should be undertaken. Many will be worried that the determination to ease our reliance on Russian fossil fuels is taking priority over the escalating climate crisis.
Whilst Norway is quick to boast about its large uptake of electric vehicles (EV), the country has not been willing to reduce its fossil fuel production and has frequently argued that we need fossil fuels to help poorer countries develop.