Net-zero or phase out? Stakeholder views on just transitions pathways for oil and gas in Norway

FNI Policy Brief 7/2022. Lysaker, Fridtjof Nansen Institute,  October 2022, 6 p.

The oil and gas sector is a significant part of Norway’s economy and society. Acknowledging that the exact share of the economy fluctuates with the oil price, in mid-2022 it represented 28% of the country’s GDP, 58% of its exports, and in 2019 it employed close to 6% of the country’s workforce1 . Norway’s petroleum sector is important economically and key to maintaining its generous welfare state. Norway is also a critical supplier of natural gas to Europe, which has taken on increased importance during the energy crisis provoked by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

But Norway’s petroleum production also accounts for 28% of its greenhouse gas emissions. Given the urgent need to reduce emissions and mitigate climate change across all countries, a key question is the future of the country’s petroleum sector. Norway is potentially well-positioned to start transitioning away from petroleum production as it possesses large financial resources, has well-functioning socio-political institutions, and the industry has the technical know-how to reduce emissions and produce alternative energy sources. Yet, achieving such a transition – one that is just – will be contentious and challenging, as it will require transforming the entire economy and moving financial resources out of a well-known, super-profitable industry.