Hoeven in Europe Working to Help Build European Energy Plan in Face of Russian Aggression

Senator Pressed Energy Secretary to Expedite LNG Export Permits

OSLO, NORWAY – Senator John Hoeven (R-N.D.) was in Norway Monday as part of a week-long Senate delegation to Europe to help build a long-term energy plan that will help reduce Ukraine’s and the region’s dependence on Russian natural gas. Also on the mission is Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.).

Hoeven and the Senate delegation met in Norway Monday with high ranking Norwegian energy officials and senior executives of Statoil, a major multinational oil and gas Norwegian company with operations in thirty-six countries. Norway is a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and an important U.S. ally.

At the meeting was Norwegian State Secretary for Oil and Energy Kåre Fostervold, as well as Statoil’s Senior Vice President of Natural Gas Marketing & Supply Grete Birgitte Haaland and Chief Economist Eirik Wærness. The delegation heard firsthand the outlook on Norway’s energy production capacity and its view of the European and global liquid natural gas market.

The U.S. partnership with Norway is important not only on a military basis in NATO, but also because of a common outlook on the need for a truly integrated gas marketplace that can meet Europe’s gas supply needs without having to rely on unstable and unreliable Russian natural gas, according to Hoeven.

Hoeven said Norway is working to reduce European dependence on Russian natural gas by exploring new sources of gas in its offshore fields as well as by making more efficient use of its existing fields to maximize gas production.

Statoil and other Norwegian companies are also going beyond Norway to invest in production globally. They are a key part of plans to bring gas to Europe from the Caspian Sea west through Turkey and also through the Adriatic Sea. Statoil is also a major investor in North Dakota, developing gas resources that could be made available on a global gas market if the federal government approves more permits to export liquefied natural gas (LNG).

“While Norway is a key supplier to Europe and can take some steps to temper the effects of Russia spiking the cost of natural gas, Norway cannot solve the problem of European energy dependence on Russia all on its own,” Hoeven said. “The only real, long-term solution is to make additional LNG supplies available, and this means the United States has a strong role to play as a world leader.”

Hoeven has been advocating measures that will enhance U.S. energy security and help to bolster the security of our allies, like Ukraine and other European nations, by boosting U.S. energy production.

Two weeks ago, Hoeven, along with Senators John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), introduced the Energy Security Act, legislation that would approve the long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline project and expedite applications to export LNG. Between the Keystone XL pipeline project and LNG exports, the measure could create nearly 100,000 jobs, boost the U.S. economy and aid our allies in Ukraine, NATO and Japan.

In addition, last week, Hoeven pressed the issue with Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz at a hearing of the Senate Appropriations Committee, on which the senator serves. Hoeven asked specifically about 23 pending LNG export licenses, some of which have been awaiting approval for up to two years. Hoeven said projects like the Keystone XL Pipeline and approving applications for LNG export can be good for our allies and good for the American economy.

“Obviously, we have a situation in Europe where they’re dependent on gas from Russia, and we need to work not only to help them – and I think strengthen their hands so that they can stand with us to deter Russian aggression – but also it’s an incredible opportunity for our country,” Hoeven said.

In addition to meeting with government and Statoil officials in Norway, Hoeven is traveling to the Baltics to meet with NATO allies and is going to Moldova along with Senators McCain, Barrasso and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) in response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine.