Norwegian Oil Giant Pockets Fivefold Profits, Gets Flak for Profiteering
Statfjord-A offshore oil platformInternationalIndiaAfricaNorway has emerged as the EU’s main energy supplier following the bloc’s barrage of sanctions against Russia over the ongoing special operation in Ukraine. Oslo’s position has only been strengthened after the destruction of the Nord Stream pipelines, in which Norway played a key part, according to a bombshell report.The conflict in Ukraine that is unfolding amid Europe’s ongoing energy crisis has led to a boom for Norway’s oil and gas sector.The state-owned company Petoro, which manages the government’s directly owned shares in Norwegian oil and gas operations, released a fresh annual report, posting a colossal revenue of NOK 528 billion (nearly $50 billion), five times greater than the yearly average.”We are in a very special situation,” Petoro’s financial director Jonny Maeland said at a press conference.Petoro CEO Kristin Kragseth touted that it had been an “exceptional” year with a “completely unique” situation, citing exorbitant prices for oil and gas. She announced that in Petoro’s 22-year-long history, the company has brought a total of NOK 2.751 billion ($258 billion) into the Norwegian state coffers, a figure that jumped by 19% in the last year alone.The major oil player’s share includes a third of the oil and gas reserves on the Norwegian continental shelf as well as platforms, pipelines and facilities on land. The state-oil producer’s main task is to maximize the value of these assets.Petoro stressed that Norway now covers 30% of Europe’s gas needs. Given this fact, Kragseth stressed the importance of looking for new oil fields. Otherwise, she warned, oil and gas production will be halved by 2030.”If we do not continue to search and develop, we will not deliver as much energy to the world as we do today,” she insisted.Norway, one of the world’s leaders in the export of energy resources, rose to the role of the EU’s leading supplier following the bloc’s massive sanctions crusade against Moscow and Russian energy in particular over the ongoing special operation in Ukraine. However, Norway’s windfall profits came amid a massive energy crisis, with nations across the entire continent going out of their way to keep the lights on, their houses warm and their industries running.This has sparked accusations of profiteering from European nations hit with a twin energy-driven cost-of-living and inflation crisis, ranging from Germany and Poland to Brussels itself. Poland has even urged Norway to share its “excess, gigantic” profit with Ukraine, accusing Oslo of indirectly “preying” on the conflict — a thought shared by some guilt-ridden Norwegians.Norwegian officials, however, have firmly rebuffed the accusations, instead framing the high costs as an unavoidable result of market scarcity. Furthermore, they highlight Norway’s unwavering support for the EU’s sanctions and its ever-broadening military aid to Ukraine as Oslo’s redeeming qualities.Energy Crisis in EuropeNorway Mulls Using US Floating Nuclear Power Plants Along Its Coast28 February, 06:09 GMTIn February, veteran American journalist Seymour Hersh published a bombshell revelation suggesting that the Nord Stream pipelines in the Baltic Sea were blown up in a joint sabotage mission performed by Washington and Oslo, citing a history of previous collaborative acts between the two. Both the Pentagon and the Norwegian authorities denied any involvement. Regardless of who is to blame for deep-sixing of the pipeline, Norway emerged as the clear winner, having eliminated a rival and broadened its market share.That being said, Norway’s ongoing oil and gas bonanza has long sparked environmental concerns. For instance, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has been pushing for all new projects to be stopped in order to reach climate targets, a demand shared by many Norwegian parties that are against the continued use of fossil fuels. The Norwegian authorities, however, are sticking to their guns, citing contradicting reports, including that of Rystad Energy, a research company, that Norwegian oil and gas, on the contrary, helps reduce global emissions.Since the discovery of offshore petroleum in the 1960s, massive oil and gas revenues have laid the foundation for the Nordic country’s mammoth Oil Fund, the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, worth some $1.3 trillion in a nation with a population of 5.4 million.