(Photo: GettyImages) Norway, Europe’s biggest gas supplier after Russia, said developing its northernmost reserves in the Arctic hinges on a commitment by the European Union to make the fuel part of its strategy to cut greenhouse-gas emissions.A “clear message” on the importance of gas from the EU Commission in its upcoming winter legislative package would be a “welcome signal” to companies looking at investments in new capacity in the Barents Sea, three government ministers said in a joint Jan. 29 letter to EU’s Climate Action Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete.

“Such expansion demands very substantial up-front investments,” the ministers, including Petroleum and Energy Minister Tord Lien, said in the letter. “Companies investing in this capacity will make their choice on a commercial basis, taking into consideration the prospects for gas in Europe.”

Norway has repeatedly sought signals from the EU that gas, which emits less carbon dioxide than coal and oil, will play an important part as the 28-nation bloc lays out its strategy to lower greenhouse emissions. Companies operating in the country, including Statoil ASA, will decide in the coming decade whether to invest in more infrastructure in the Barents Sea, through more liquefied natural gas infrastructure or a pipeline connected to European markets, the government said in the letter.
Snoehvit, a gas field operated by Statoil ASA, is the only one in production in the Norwegian Barents Sea to date, with gas liquefied at Hammerfest before it is shipped to customers. Norway sells more than 95 percent of its gas to Europe through a network of pipelines.

(Source: Bloomberg Business