Norway trade surplus hits record on Europe gas sales

AFP , Thursday 15 Sep 2022

Norway's trade surplus surged to a new record in August, fuelled by a jump in natural gas prices as the Nordic country is now Europe's biggest supplier after Russia slashed exports.

Norway s trade surplus hit a record high in July, mainly due to the surge in natural gas prices caused by Russia s invasion of Ukraine, according to official statistics released Monday. AFP


The data released Thursday comes as the soaring prices have put Oslo in an awkward position with the European Union, with some EU countries seeking a price cap on natural gas.

Norway's trade surplus reached close to 20 billion euros ($20 billion) last month, according to the country's SSB statistics office.

SSB expert Jan Olav Rorhus said gas prices increased sharply in August in part because Russian deliveries to the EU via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline were reduced.

"This resulted in export volumes of natural gas from Norway, which were already elevated, reaching a record value," he added.

Russian energy giant Gazprom has completely stopped deliveries via Nord Stream since August 31 in what has been seen as retaliation to European sanctions against Moscow over the war in Ukraine.

The Kremlin has said that sanctions prevent the maintenance of the pipeline.

Norway has been partially filled the void, becoming Europe's top supplier.

Last week, European energy ministers said at crisis talks in Brussels that they were in favour of a series of measures aimed at combatting soaring gas and electricity prices, with some calling for a cap on the price of gas imports in the EU.

While the European Commission has proposed a price ceiling on Russian gas, several member states called for price cap on all gas bought by EU states.

Norway's Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store said he was "sceptical" about the idea following a phone call with European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen.

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