David Cameron praises UK-Norway energy link-up

 

A new energy partnership between the United Kingdom and Norway will help create more than 1,600 jobs and could secure affordable power supplies for decades.

Prime Minister David Cameron and his Norwegian counterpart Jens Stoltenberg will formally announce the agreement in Oslo at a meeting with leading energy firms from both sides of the North Sea.

The deal is set to unlock investment worth tens of billions of pounds by energy firms in the UK, including the creation of 1,300 new jobs in Chiswick, West London.

The partnership with Norway will focus on affordable long-term gas supply as well as two-way investment in oil and gas exploration and the development of renewable technologies.

The Prime Minister described the delivery of sustainable energy supplies to meet ever-growing demand as "one of the most important challenges" the two nations face.

"Affordable, secure energy from trusted and reliable partners is critical to this," said Mr Cameron. "And there is no stronger energy partnership than between Britain and Norway."

In the past five years, British companies have invested £13 billion in Norwegian oil and gas while Norway now meets more than a quarter of the UK's entire energy needs, said Mr Cameron.

Norwegian companies are major investors not only in oil and gas but also in the £30 billion Dogger Bank offshore wind project, which is slated to provide more than a tenth of the UK's electricity.

The new deal will "take this vital relationship to the next level", Mr Cameron said.

"This will mean more collaboration on affordable long-term gas supply, more reciprocal investment in oil and gas and renewables, and - underpinning all of this - a set of major new business deals creating thousands of new jobs and adding billions to our economies."

One of the new investments was announced by oil services company Aker Solutions, which will create 1,300 jobs by 2015 at an engineering hub in Chiswick.

Mr Cameron said it was "a vote of confidence in the skill, expertise and professionalism of our engineering sector".

He added: "Their expansion here is testament to the increasing depth and strength of our partnership with Norway across the spectrum of energy issues which helps to ensure that we keep household energy bills as affordable as possible for families across the country."

Under the new UK-Norway deal, the two countries will establish a joint business advisory group so companies can talk to the Government directly on a regular basis, develop the supply chain and encourage new technologies such as carbon capture and storage.

Mr Cameron is the first British PM to visit Norway since Margaret Thatcher in 1986.

PA

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