Norway PM Says Politics Will Not Delay Statoil's $20B Sverdrup Field
OSLO, May 28 (Reuters) - The startup of Norway's $20 billion Johan Sverdrup oil field, the country's largest industrial project in decades, will not be delayed by a political dispute over its source of power, Prime Minister Erna Solberg said on Wednesday.
Opposition parties, who hold a majority in parliament, recently agreed to ask all new fields in the Utsira High area of the North Sea, including Sverdrup, to get power from the shore when they start producing rather than generating it on the rigs with natural gas or diesel.
Using electricity from land would be a more environmentally friendly option, but operator Statoil said this could push up costs and delay projects.
However the Labour Party, the single largest party in parliament, is now hinting it may soften its stance and find common ground with Solberg's minority government.
"I expect Johan Sverdrup not to be delayed by political decisions," Solberg told Reuters in an interview.
"The last few days the clear message from the Labour Party has been that they are back on track with what the government has said for a long time, that yes, we'd like to see electrification (of the full area), but we won't manage to do that by the start of Johan Sverdrup," the premier said.
Power from the shore could cut Norway's carbon dioxide emission by 1 million tonnes, because the country generates its electricity from hydro plants, but it would be a technically challenging and costly solution given the distance to land.
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