Post-oil divides Norway

From the stage, erected at the entrance to the Petroleum Museum, in the port of Stavanger, in southwestern Norway, Ulrikke Torgersen does not budge: “By 2035, Norway must stop producing hydrocarbons. “ The Greens candidate in the September 13 legislative elections quotes UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres as urging “Put an end to all new exploration and production of fossil fuels”. She also mentions the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the call from the International Energy Agency (IEA) to stop ” right now ” exploration projects, to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.

His words do not arouse enthusiasm. The climate may well dominate the electoral campaign, the Greens are the only ones to consider an end date for the production. “That Norway, which supplies 2% of the oil and 3% of the gas used in the world, stop, will not solve the climate problem”, annoys Tina Bru, the conservative minister of energy and oil, whose party has led the country since 2013.

In the polls, the left is given the lead. Labor leader Jonas Gahr Store hopes to rule with the Center Party (SP) and the Socialist Party (SV), in favor of slowing down explorations on the Norwegian base. But it might also need the support of the Greens (GM), who have made the 2035 deadline a sine qua non of their support.

Ulrikke Torgersen, environmental candidate in Stavanger, September 8.

In the room of the environmental party, on the first floor of a pedestrian street in the center of Stavanger, a slate on the wall reads “7.2”. “This is the score given to us by the survey after the publication of the IPCC report”, explains Eva Berge, regional secretary of the party. In a few weeks, the Greens have gained 20% of new members in Norway. Since then, voting intentions have fallen to less than 5% (compared to 3.2% in 2017). But Ulrikke Torgersen is happy: “For the first time, we are finally discussing oil and gas in the climate debate. “

Here in Stavanger, the subject is sensitive. The “oil capital” lives at the rate of the price of a barrel of black gold. In 2014, when prices collapsed, more than 10,000 residents (out of 130,000) lost their jobs. Since then, activity has resumed, and the tax breaks provided to companies at the start of the pandemic have boosted investments. On the site of the Bank of Norway, every second, the oil windfall grows. The largest sovereign wealth fund in the world now weighs nearly 12,000 billion crowns (1,170 billion euros).

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