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Norway is voting today in parliamentary elections whose outcome will likely set the pace for the decarbonization of the country's oil and gas industry.
Reuters reports that the most likely winner is the Labour Party, although it may need to form a coalition with at least two more parties to achieve a parliamentary majority.
"I believe that calling time on our oil and gas industry is the wrong industrial policy and the wrong climate policy," said the most likely next prime minister of Europe's largest oil and gas producer, Jonas Gahr Støre.
Yet he might have to compromise with potential coalition partners, including the Green Party, which wants to end oil production in Norway by 2035, and the Red Party, which pursues social reforms based on Marxist ideas.
Norway is one of the greenest countries in the world thanks to its abundant hydropower reserves and is also the car market with the highest uptake of electric vehicles. Yet the oil and gas industry remains an important revenue source to fuel economic growth.
The incumbent Conservative government believes Norway's oil and gas companies could achieve net-zero status while keeping a large portion of the population employed in its operations. The country is also investing heavily in offshore wind and carbon capture.
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"The petroleum sector will remain a significant factor in the Norwegian economy in the years to come, although not on the same scale as today. The government will facilitate long-term economic growth in the petroleum industry within the framework of our climate policy and our commitments under the Paris Agreement," the government said earlier this year, following the release of the IEA's "Roadmap to Net Zero" report.
The Norwegian Oil and Gas Association also commented on the IEA report, saying it "does not share the assumption that OPEC members alone should account for more than half of oil and gas production for the world market in a 2050 perspective. If demand does not decline as rapidly as the IEA assumes in its scenario, and the supply side is simultaneously choked off, global energy provision could be threatened and lead to very high energy prices."
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com