Hoeven Meets with Statoil CEO Helge Lund

Senator Working to Build Infrastructure, Reduce Flaring, Help Allies

WASHINGTON – In his ongoing effort to build energy infrastructure and reduce natural gas flaring, Senator John Hoeven Tuesday met in Washington with Statoil CEO Helge Lund and other senior executives. The senator said Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) exports from the United States’ growing production could help to reduce flaring and be marketed to Europe to help our allies reduce their reliance on Russian LNG.

Statoil is making major investments in North America, including North Dakota, Alaska and the Canadian oil sands, a move that can help to produce more LNG for the world market. The company plans to invest $20 billion a year worldwide between 2014 and 2016 for a total of $60 billion. Up to a quarter of this funding will go to North America, including to the Bakken in North Dakota and Montana. The company has already invested $8 billion in the Bakken.

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. He stressed, however, the limitations of Norway’s ability to address the problem of European reliance on Russian natural gas. While Norway is a key supplier to Europe and can help reduce Russia’s spiking the cost of natural gas, Norway cannot solve the problem all on its own.

“The real, long-term solution to Europe’s energy challenge is to increase supplies of LNG on the world market,” Hoeven said. “The United States produces more gas than it uses, often flaring the surplus. Opening a new market in Europe for our production means we have an opportunity to reduce flaring, create jobs and help our European allies reduce their dependency on Russian gas.”

Last month, Hoeven, along with Senators John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), introduced the Energy Security Act, legislation that would approve the Keystone XL pipeline project and expedite applications to export U.S. LNG. The senator said there are about 23 LNG export licenses pending, some of which have been awaiting approval for up to two years. Approving applications for LNG export can be good for our allies, good for the environment by capturing more flared gas and good for the American economy by creating jobs and economic activity.

The meeting was a follow up to meetings Hoeven and Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) had with company executives in Europe two weeks ago.