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Denmark, European Union’s largest oil producer, to phase out production by 2050

December 04, 2020


Denmark, the European Union’s biggest oil producer, will stop offering new licenses in the North Sea and phase out production altogether in 2050 as it takes an historic step toward a fossil-fuel free future.

Climate and Energy Minister Dan Jorgensen told reporters in Copenhagen that he expects the decision to “resonate around the world.”

The Social Democrat government reached an agreement with a majority in the parliament late on Thursday. The deal means a planned 8th licensing round will be abandoned, as will all future exploration, Jorgensen said. About 150 million barrels of oil and equivalents that would have been drilled by 2050 will remain beneath the ocean’s surface.

For oil and gas companies currently operating in Danish waters, terms and conditions will remain unchanged until production stops in 2050. The decision will cost Denmark about 13 billion kroner ($2.1 billion), according to estimates by the energy ministry.

For Denmark, the decision to end its North Sea exploration fits into an agenda that has made protecting the climate a priority. The country targets cutting carbon emissions by 70% in 2030, compared with 1990 levels.

Jorgensen pointed to Europe’s desire to be carbon neutral by 2050, “which means it needs to end its reliance on fossil fuels. It’s my clear impression that this development will speed up,” he said.

[Morten Buttler]

More: Denmark to end North Sea oil production in milestone deal

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