As policymakers in Dubai search for consensus on tackling climate change, the scale of the challenge is evident in the stormy waters of the North Sea, where Norway is opening another gas field.
Petroleum and Energy Minister Terje Aasland will on Friday cut the ribbon on the ConocoPhillips-operated Tommeliten A gas development in the southern reaches of Norway’s economic zone.
In the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, gas supplies from Norway are key to safeguarding Europe’s energy security in the coming years.
But the development of that field and others in the waters off Norway spotlight the tensions at COP28 in Dubai, where thousands of politicians, campaigners and business leaders are trying to edge the world toward a potential commitment on phasing out fossil fuels.
Norway — where vast hydropower reservoirs and a world-leading electric car fleet contrast with strategic petroleum resources that feed a $1.5 trillion sovereign wealth fund — is a microcosm of that debate. Rather than putting an end date on the oil and gas industry, Norway wants to use the engineering know-how from the sector to drive the development of renewable energy.
On Friday, the ceremony for the opening of the new gas resource is taking place on one of the many platforms of the Ekofisk field, where Norway’s petroleum success all began with the discovery of oil in 1969 by Phillips Petroleum. The giant field was originally estimated to contain more than 3 billion barrels of recoverable oil and still remains a hub for fields in the southern region.
The new field — estimated to hold 150 million barrels of oil equivalent — started pumping in October, sending oil and wet gas to Teesside in the UK and gas to Emden in Germany via the giant Ekofisk field.