Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Energy Economy Cannot Expand to Meet Future Population Needs / Oil Prices Must Be Higher, Stable, Says Prime Minister of Norway

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Energy Economy Cannot Expand to Meet Future Population Needs / Oil Prices Must Be Higher, Stable, Says Prime Minister of Norway

Article excerpt

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Norway is calling for all petroleum related nations, both producers and consumers, to take a hard look at what will happen to oil and gas reserves in the next 30 years if today's rate of production continues, according to the Honorable Gro Harlem Brundtland, prime minister of Norway.

With a reasoned analysis of production needs vs. environmental requirements, Brundtland presented Norway's policy on petroleum production and its intended present and future impact on the world during a Sept. 18 address at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

The world's population passed the 5 billion mark this year, she pointed out, and at its present rate of growth, it would be at least six times that in the next century. She quickly showed the audience that today's energy economy cannot be expanded to meet these needs.

Brundtland cited Norway's own production as an example of problems that can be expected.

At its current rate of production, Norway's known oil reserves would be 75 percent depleted by the year 2000, and the gas reserves would last for 100 years, she said. Norway today represents 2 percent of the world's oil production; roughly equivalent to that of a medium-sized OPEC country.

In an effort to slow this rapid depletion, the Norweigan government withdrew 80,000 barrels a day of production from the market in November, 1986, and will continue this limited production through 1987 in order to have the reserves to serve the more needy 1990s.

The ultimate economic effectiveness of this limited production is based on reasonably higher and stable oil prices. The prime minister was quick to point out that the recently reduced oil prices did not help anyone's economy.

Oil prices in the range of $20 to $25 a barrel would encourage further petroleum exploration and development, Brundtland said, while at the same time encourages the discovery of alternative energy methods. She forcefully maintained that the world must learn to depend on renewable energy sources in the future while carefully dispensing its non-renewable sources until such time as better methods are found.

Although Norway does not adhere to OPEC's fixed price policy, the country sees its role as maintaining good bilateral relations with all oil producing countries, she said. The government also seeks to bring about orderly discussions between producing and consuming countries in order to protect and properly use the remaining petroleum reserves.

As minister of environmental affairs from 1974 to 1979, Brundtland has been instrumental in developing her country's energy policy from the time oil was discovered on Norway's continental shelf. …

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