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Norway’s Surprise Natural Gas Nationalization Plan Even Broader Than Expected

Norway’s plan to nationalize natural gas assets includes more than just Gassled’s natural gas pipelines, new information revealed in a letter from the Norwegian energy minister showed on Friday.

The surprise move to nationalize the country’s gas assets will also include other assets—including the Nyhamna processing plant.

Last Friday, Norway’s oil and energy minister said it would nationalize its natural gas pipelines within the next five years when existing concessions are set to expire. But now, a new letter to licensees seen by Reuters on Friday said that that plan also includes “other central parts of the Norwegian gas infrastructure that are currently owned by Nyhamna and Plarled, as well as Vestprosess DA.”

Norway’s gas pipeline network encompasses 5,600 miles of pipelines, most of which are owned by Gassled.

The letter to all licensees, which include Shell, ConocoPhillips, and Equinor, said that it had a goal to “complete state ownership of Norwegian gas infrastructure.”

Norway became Germany’s single-largest natural gas supplier last year, overtaking Russia, with Germany’s gas imports dropping by 12.3%. Norway provided Germany—Europe’s largest economy—with 33% of all of the gas it imported in 2022, while Russia’s share of the German gas market fell to 22% last year, the Germany Federal Network Agency Bundesnetzagentur said in early January.

Norway’s oil and gas ministry said last Friday that it was notifying licensees to let them know that the country wants to “make use of the right of repatriation at the end of the license period,” adding that it “wants complete state ownership of the central parts of the Norwegian gas transport system.”

Norway exported more than 120 billion cubic meters of gas last year, mainly via its pipelines, making it Europe’s largest gas supplier.

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By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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