Norway said on Thursday that sky-high gas prices were not in its interest and it would work with the EU to steady the market, although Europe’s biggest supplier of piped gas is already at capacity trying to fill a gap left by Russia.
The European Union is grappling with the impact of soaring gas prices that have driven up inflation, pushed some utilities to the brink and threatened recession, prompting urgent proposals by its executive to protect consumers and businesses.
“It is not in Norway’s interest that we have these extraordinary gas price spikes,” Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre told reporters after meeting gas companies to discuss ways to bring down the price at which Norway sells to Europe.
Surging European gas prices, up 250 percent or more in the past year, have sharply boosted Norway’s export revenues but created havoc for energy companies caught in the maelstrom.
Since Russia cut flows to Europe, Norway has become the region’s top piped gas supplier, with Moscow blaming the reductions on technical issues caused by Western sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine.
Norway is expected to produce some 122 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas this year, according to official forecasts in May, up 8 percent from 2021 as producers lifted output as much as possible.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said Russian gas exports to the EU would fall by 50 bcm this year, Interfax reported. It sent about 150 bcm to the EU in 2021.
EU energy ministers will try to approve new measures to reduce gas and power prices at an emergency summit on September 30 and have asked Norway, which is not an EU member, to help.