EU and Norway agree to strengthen energy ties, offshore oil and gas safety

London (Platts)--22 Jun 2012 749 am EDT/1149 GMT

The EU and Norway agreed Friday to further develop energy cooperation between the 27-member bloc and the Nordic country, which is not a member of the EU but participates in the EU single energy market through the European Economic Area.

EU energy commissioner Guenther Oettinger and the Norwegian oil and energy minister, Ola Borten Moe, met in Brussels at the 10th annual EC-Norway Energy Dialogue. The two sides reaffirmed their mutual interest in close and comprehensive consultations on key energy issues.

"Key themes discussed at the meeting included offshore safety, the development of infrastructure and the implementation of the internal energy market. The two sides also exchanged views on the longer term challenges in the energy sector and the potential for further cooperation to meet these challenges," the EC said after the meeting.

Norway is a major exporter of oil and gas to the EU and its gas exports typically account for around 15% of EU total gas demand.

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On offshore oil and gas safety they discussed how Norway could share its experience in this field with the EC. New oil and gas safety legislation is to be priority during the Cypriot presidency of the EU which begins on July 1.

Oettinger and Borten Moe also used the meeting to welcome recent agreements by power grid operators to develop new power interconnections between Norway and EU members Germany and the UK.

The links with Norway would bring added security to the EU power grids by helping to balance growing intermittent wind energy in northern Europe with Norway's hydropower capacity.

They also called for joint efforts on the cost-effective development of carbon capture and storage technology.

--Paul Whitehead,

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