Haga attended EP public hearing on CCS

5th March, Minister of Petroleum and Energy Åslaug Haga visited Brussels to attend a European Parliament open hearing on Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS).

12/03/2008 :: The hearing, which had been given the name “CO2 capture and storage – the way forward”, was arranged by the Norwegian environmentalist group Bellona, in cooperation with British MEP Chris Davies. Davies is the raporteur of the Commission’s proposed CCS directive which is a part of the Climate and Energy Package.

An audience of about 200 attended the hearing, which took place in the European Parliament. In her speech, Haga emphasized that a sustainable energy policy should be founded both on improved energy efficiency, on increased use of renewables, as well as on CCS.

– Personally, I am an enthusiastic supporter of rapid progress in the field of renewable energy; as a matter of fact I am using much of my time to address this challenge, the Minister said.

– However, no matter how much effort we put into the development of renewables, oil and gas will continue to be our most important source of energy for years to come. That is why CCS is so important. We must make the use of oil, gas and coal more environmentally friendly.

Rebecca Harms, Jerzy Buzek, Åslaug Haga and Chris Davies debated CCS . (Foto: Rune Bjåstad)

In addition to Ms Haga, the panel of the hearing included head of Bellona Frederic Hauge, Nick Riley of the British Geological Survey, Ian Wright of the petroleum company BP, Jan Panek of DG TREN, and Scott Brocket of DG Environment. The European Parliament was represented by Jerzy Panek (EPP-ED) and Rebecca Harms (The Greens). Harms was the only one who heralded the criticism made by parts of the environmentalist movement, which claims that CO2 storage is not sufficiently safe, and that an increased focus on CCS will move focus away from what should really be the most important target – to replace fossil fuels with renewables.

In her speech, Ms Haga made an account of the Norwegian experiences with CO2 storage in the seabed of the Sleipner oil field, of the plans for a CO2 capture test centre at Mongstad, as well as of the planned, full scale CCS facility at Mongstad and Kårstø.

Among the audience was the president of EFTA’s surveillance authority ESA. ESA is in charge of assessing the funding of the Mongstad test facilities against the EEA rules on state aid. If the project fails to reach ESA’s approval, there will be huge uncertainties about its further progress.

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Minister of Petroleum and Energy Åslaug Haga attended the EP’s hearing on CCS