German economics and climate minister Robert Habeck during a visit to Norway signed a joint statement with Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre over cooperation that aims to spur large-scale hydrogen exports from the Nordic nation to Europe’s largest economy.
After Russia’s attack on Ukraine, the two countries in a joint declaration stressed the importance of quickly reducing Europe’s dependence on Russian energy imports.
“Norway and Germany are close partners in the energy transition and climate protection. We want to deepen this partnership further,” Habeck said.
“The joint declaration we adopted today underlines that. Our two countries agree that when it comes to hydrogen, we have to think about a European hydrogen infrastructure right from the start.”
In the wake of the Russian aggression, the energy transition must be accelerated through a faster expansion of renewables and more energy efficiency, as well as the transition from fossil gas to green hydrogen or its derivatives such as ammonia, Germany’s climate ministry stressed.
To achieve that, Germany and Norway plan to carry out a feasibility study on the construction of a pipeline to transport green hydrogen.
The two countries don’t rule out a temporary transport of blue hydrogen (produced from fossil gas linked to carbon capture and storage) through the suggested pipeline, but Germany stressed that would only be considered for transitional period until green hydrogen (made from renewables via electrolysis) is economically more viable.
Germany’s new green-tinged coalition government (Habeck is from the Greens) favours green hydrogen over blue, but Norway’s state-controlled oil and gas major Equinor is investing in both, likely also to have a long-term perspective for its massive gas production.
Norway’s petroleum and energy ministry in the wake of Habeck’s visit also approved applications for revised production permits at three key gas fields off its coast in order to keep pumping gas nearly at maximum capacity to provide Europe with a maximum of fossil gas to lessen its energy dependence on Russia.
Norway supplies 20-25% of the gas consumption in the EU and the UK, mostly through an extensive network of pipelines under the North Sea.