OSLO, Oct. 20 (Xinhua) -- Norwegian companies that deal with carbon dioxide capture and storage said Friday they have to cut heavily in their projects after the government cut the state aid in the 2018 budget, newspaper VG reported.
In the budget for next year, the government has set 20 million kroner (2.5 million U.S. dollars) to develop full-scale facilities for purification of carbon dioxide in Norwegian industry. In the state budget for 2017 this item was worth 360 million kroner.
Three Norwegian companies -- Norcem, Yara and the waste incineration plant of Oslo Municipality -- have worked for several years to develop methods for capturing of carbon dioxide from their industrial production, which would stop the release of hundreds of thousands of tons of greenhouse gas.
According to Stein Lier-Hansen, head of Federation of Norwegian Industries, the companies are reconsidering a decision to go for the capture of carbon dioxide.
"They have alerted that the projects will stop and that they will move some of their best people to other projects if no funding is available in 2018," Lier-Hansen told VG.
The pre-studies that have been going on for several years can stop already on Nov. 1, the report said.
"The government commits a dramatic breach of promise when this money is held back. This is in violation of recommendations and roadmaps that have previously been agreed," Lier-Hansen said.
The capture and storage are a crucial prerequisite for reaching Norwegian climate targets, he said, adding that Norway's promises to the outside world, regarding the Paris agreement to contribute to carbon capture and storage, are also neglected.
Frederic Hauge, CEO of environmental foundation Bellona, said over 100 "of the smartest people" in the three companies and initiating consultants risk either of being fired or being relegated to other tasks.
According to Bellona, the industry now needs up to 400 million kroner from the government, which is higher than the assigned budget.
Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg told the parliament Wednesday that the cut is coming because the government will return with more secure estimates during the next year.
Trade union Tekna and Bellona have, together with Norway's largest industry organizations, sent a joint letter to the Norwegian parliament, seeking to reverse the government's cuts.
"Despite the government's statement that the commitment is in line, the budget proposal creates uncertainty, which means that the most important climate project in Norway is at risk of stopping," they stated in the letter.
Parliament has previously instructed the government to "ensure the realization of at least one carbon capture and storage facility to help Norway reach its national climate target for 2020." (1 U.S. dollar = 7.9662 Norwegian kroner)