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Consumption of Norwegian gas can be tripled in ten years

October 26, 2004, 10:00 CEST

Hydro believes that government support for the development of infrastructure and long-term exemption for CO2-related costs would make it possible to triple the domestic consumption of Norwegian gas. This could be in the form of continued development of gas power, the use of gas in methanol production and increased use of gas in the transport and heating market.

This was the main message from Hilde Myrberg, who represented Hydro at this year's Natural Gas Conference, held by the Norwegian Petroleum Society (NPF) in Oslo on 25 and 26 October.

Myrberg's presentation "The energy situation in Scandinavia: the role of gas today and in the future" cover several of the challenges Norway and the rest of Scandinavia will face over the next years, and points out the important opportunities for increased consumption of Norwegian gas - in Norway.

"We will continue to work actively for greater consumption of Norwegian gas in Norway," says Hilde Myrberg, who leads the Markets sector in Hydro. Although Hydro will be a significant gas exporter, we see more and more clearly that there is a market for gas in our own country."

Norway is one of the world's leading gas nations and by 2010 will be third largest gas exporter in the world. Most of the country's gas is distributed via an extensive European pipeline network, to markets in such countries as Germany, France, Belgium and the UK, where it used for power production, in industry and for heating and transport, etc.

As the demand for power increases in Norway and the deficit in the electric power balance grows steadily larger, it is natural to look at the opportunities we have to utilize the gas resources off our own coast, apart from export. Hydro alone exports over eight billion cubic metres of gas a year - enough to run more than fifteen gas power plants of the same size as Statkraft and Hydro's gas power project at Kårstø.

"There are many things that need to be settled before we are able to utilize the gas in the way we would like in Norway. An efficient distribution network is one factor, and, through its ownership stakes in several leading Norwegian distribution companies, Hydro has played an active part in the work to develop such a network," says Myrberg. There is also a need for considerable research efforts to find the most environmental and efficient ways of utilizing the gas in a Norwegian energy market.

As early as 2001, Hydro's President and CEO Eivind Reiten took the initiative of establishing a national innovation company for environmentally-friendly utilization of natural gas. Earlier this year the government made it clear that it would establish a fund of NOK two billion, which is to be managed by a state-owned innovation company based in Grenland.

"It's an extremely good sign that this innovation company is currently being set up in Grenland. A good deal of infrastructure and expertise is already gathered in Grenland, and the innovation company will act as a real catalyst in efforts to find smart ways of using Norwegian gas," says Hilde Myrberg in Hydro.

See Hilde Myrberg's presentation (PDF 1.4MB, Norwegian text)