OSLO, Nov. 9 (Xinhua) -- Norway exported a record high of 123 billion cubic meters of gas to Europe last year, which is 9 billion cubic meters more than in 2015, newspaper Aftenposten reported Thursday.
Demand for gas in European countries increased by 20 billion standard cubic meters from October 2016 to October 2017, and it was Norway and Russia which mostly covered this European demand, Aftenposten reported.
According to the report, Norway had more gas to sell because the Norwegian authorities have issued a permission to extract more gas from the Troll gas field in the North Sea, where the production has increased from 30 billion to 36 billion cubic meters during a period of two years.
The extraction of gas from this field is controlled by the authorities, because the pressure in the reservoir must be kept in order to extract oil.
Norwegian state-owned company Statoil is one of the largest gas exporters to the European Union (EU).
"There are several reasons why there is now increased craving for Norwegian gas in Europe," Tor Martin Anfinnsen, Statoil's Director of Marketing and Trading of Gas, told Aftenposten.
"For a while, we have seen demand for gas going down, but now it is increasing. The reason is, among other things, that the EU's own production of gas goes down. This is especially true in the Netherlands," he explained.
According to Statoil, the reason for increased consumption of gas is that gas replaces coal in power supply. This is partly because coal has become more expensive, but also because of political decisions about reducing coal consumption.
"The tendency of more gas being used for power generation will continue. The same is with the policy decisions in the UK to phase out coal and that older nuclear power is being phased out in other places in Europe," Anfinnsen said.
"The goal is to replace this with renewable energy. But since power generation from renewable sources varies with the weather, one needs the stability that gas can provide in the power supply, " he said.
The future of gas in Europe until 2040-50 depends, among other things, on whether the companies manage to decarbonize the gas by injecting the separated carbon dioxide. Statoil has come furthest in this kind of projects, the report said.