Jens Okland, a board member of Norway’s oil and gas giant Statoil, is part responsible for the company’s expensive pipeline network into Germany, France, Belgium and Britain. In an interview with Handelsblatt, he talks about why he feels Germany’s energy policy is on the wrong path.
Handelsblatt: Mr. Okland, the European Commission is working toward an energy union. What is your assessment of these plans?
Mr. Okland: The plans of the European Commission for establishing a European energy union go in the right direction. It wants to assure that the system for transporting natural gas through Europe becomes more integrated. An extensive infrastructure for providing gas increases security of supplies and leads to more flexibility and liquidity in the gas market.
What contribution can you make to enhancing the security of energy supply in Europe?
Norway has great potential. One third of the country’s gas reserves have already been extracted, one third can be mobilized by 2035, and a further third is available for the decades after 2035. These are substantial resources, so that production can be maintained at current levels for decades.
Gas markets are becoming global; other providers also stand ready.
Yes, but we have access to an existing and extremely good infrastructure, with pipelines to Germany, Belgium, France and Great Britain. We have to make significant investments if we want to exploit our gas reserves. Such investments only make sense if there is long-term, dependable demand. The existing pipelines provide a good basis for this.