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Eivind Reiten: "We are in a good position to meet the energy challenge"

November 11, 2004, 14:00 CET

"Meeting the world's demand for energy in a sustainable way in the years to come is a formidable challenge. We have to become better at utilizing existing resources and restricting negative environmental impact, and we must contribute to the development of new technology that can supply energy to future generations."

These words were spoken by Hydro's President and CEO, Eivind Reiten, at the company's energy seminar in Bergen on Thursday. He summarized the factors needed to meet this challenge as: determination, the right attitudes, knowledge, technology and innovation.

At the seminar, Hydro presented the wide range of its energy activities, which today encompass 19 hydroelectric power plants, two windmill parks and a large oil and gas production from 15 fields, in addition to plans for a new gas power plant at Kårstø. The hydroelectric power plant New Tyin, which will be officially opened on 2 December, is one of this decade's largest renewable energy projects in Norway.

"As a major producer of renewable energy, as well as oil and gas, we are in a good position to take part in further developments," said Reiten. He highlighted the strength the company has in its systematic focus on utilizing resources in the best possible way.

Environmental achievements

Reiten reminded the participants at the energy seminar of the actual achievements that have been made in relation to the environment. He referred to the fact that the Norwegian petroleum industry has worked systematically for a long time to limit negative impact on the climate and the external environment in general, in addition to improving emergency response. For example, the companies on the Norwegian continental shelf have considerably lower emissions of CO2 per produced oil equivalent than other comparable operations.

Reiten also drew attention to studies showing that 16 years of operations at the oil terminal at Stura on Norway's west coast had no negative effect on the environment, and he referred to the substantial amount of work that forms the basis for the forthcoming environmentally-friendly exploration drilling programmes in the Barents Sea.

However, he underlined that we cannot be complacent in relation to the environment: "Although we have achieved a great deal, we have to redouble our efforts to develop new technologies for cleaner transport and power production.

Major investments in Norway

Eivind Reiten also took the opportunity to point out the size of the investments Hydro has made and continues to make in Norway.

"A number of people claim that we do not invest in Norway. In fact, this company has alone accounted for nearly a sixth of the total investments in industry, mining and energy in Norway each year," he said.

As examples, he referred to the completion of the expanded and upgraded aluminium plant at Sunndal and the new power plant at Tyin, both of which were opened during the course of the last seven days. The two projects represent a total investment of nearly seven billion Norwegian kroner.

Altogether Hydro's invests some NOK 20 billion a year. In recent years between three and five billion has been invested in Norwegian land-based industry. Hydro's annual investments account for around 15-20 percent of the total investment in Norwegian industry.

The picture is almost the same offshore, where Hydro accounts for 10-15 percent of the overall investment in the Norwegian continental shelf. By way of example, 90 percent of all the contracts relating to the land-based development of the Ormen Lange field have been awarded to Norwegian companies.

Reiten announced that Hydro's investments would remain at a high level in the years to come in order to maintain and bolster the company's strong position in both energy and aluminium, however the proportion of investments abroad will probably increase.