Norway’s rising profits come as energy prices rise as a result of Western sanctions against Russia over the conflict in Ukraine
A Norwegian lawmaker has urged officials to share the country’s soaring gas profits with Ukraine “morally wrong” take advantage of the military conflict raging in Eastern Europe. However, the government emphasizes that its top priority is to increase production, as other EU countries want to curtail Russian energy imports.
Former Green Party spokesman and current MP Rasmus Hansson has launched a profit-sharing plan to turn gas revenues into foreign aid for Ukraine, telling Politico that “Norway is short-sighted and too selfish.”
“We get a windfall that is very big, but the question is, is that money ours as long as the most obvious reason for that price increase and that extra income is the disaster that happened to the Ukrainian people?” he added, referring to the ongoing conflict with Russia.
Hansson said experts at the Norwegian sovereign wealth fund, which manages the state’s energy profits, should determine whether “normal” gas price, and that any income above that level should be donated to a “solidarity fund” for post-war reconstruction efforts in Ukraine.
However, Norwegian Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt opposed the idea of wealth-sharing, saying the country’s main goal is to increase energy production to cope with a growing supply crisis in Europe.
“Norway has been asked by the EU and our European partners to ramp up production to cover as much of Russia’s deficit as possible and we have done our utmost to do so,” Huidfeldt told Politico.
The FM further accused Moscow of manipulating gas prices and cutting exports, despite a slew of EU countries demanding outright embargoes on Russian energy and imposing a series of economic sanctions on Russian oil and gas companies.
Still, as some regions are dealing with sevenfold price increases, Huidfeldt said: “lots of suggestions” are now being considered to cover shortfalls, although we declined to comment on specific plans.
“I’m hesitant at this point to comment on specific proposals. One has to carefully evaluate the implications of different measures so that the result is not a reduction in supply or less focus on energy savings.” she said.
Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere, meanwhile, claimed that it is so “not in Norway’s interest that we have these extraordinary gas price spikes”, following a meeting with gas companies on Thursday. The meeting was “usable” but yielded no concrete results, according to Reuters, as Norwegian gas companies hesitate to commit to long-term deals with collapsing European energy suppliers.
While the European Union has proposed a potential energy price cap to curb rising costs, Oslo was skeptical of the idea, arguing that it would not solve supply shortages.
After taking the place of Russia as Europe’s largest gas exporter, the government has come under fire from other countries, with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki saying it should share “gigantic” profit made in wartime. More recently, a Spanish environment minister said that Norway’s high selling prices “disturbing.”
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