Investing in sulphur fund

February 6, 2002, 08:00 CET

An environmental fund has been established by Norway’s process industry, including Statoil, to reduce Norwegian emissions of sulphur.

Instead of paying a green tax of NOK 3.09 per kilogram of sulphur emitted, process industry companies began contributing an equivalent amount to the fund from 1 January.

The aim is to cut annual sulphur emissions from participants by at least 5,000 tonnes in 2010.

Norway is thereby moving from passive environmental taxes to a system which gives industries collective responsibility for spending the same money on effective anti-pollution measures.

No other country in Europe has adopted this approach at present, claims Terje Palmesen, health, safety and the environment manager at the Mongstad refinery operated by Statoil near Bergen.

The board of the fund will make grants to help build desulphurisation plants in the Norwegian process industry.

Some 1,000 tonnes of sulphur are emitted annually from Mongstad every year, for instance – 50-60 per cent of the amount allowed in its operating permit.

“By devoting cash from the fund to new environmental measures, we hope to cut emissions even further – even though we’re already among the best in the business in this area,” says Mr Palmesen.

Getting companies to emit less sulphur will help Norway to meet its obligations under the Gothenburg protocol on acidification, excessive use of fertiliser and ground-level ozone.