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Norway unveiled plans on Wednesday for a major expansion in offshore wind energy by 2040, aiming to turn a country that has built its wealth on oil and gas into an exporter of renewable electricity.

The centre-left government, which has come under fire from environmentalists for continuing to support the oil and gas industry, set a target to develop 30 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind capacity by 2040.

"This would nearly double our power output," Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere told a news conference.

Norway, which says the world still needs its oil in gas during the transition to a cleaner energy future, believes developing offshore wind will allow it to build on the know-how of its existing energy industry.

A wide range of utilities, oil and gas firms and engineering companies have lined up to develop offshore power projects in Norway, including Equinor (EQNR.OL), Shell (SHEL.L), BP (BP.L), Orsted (ORSTED.CO) and Eni (ENI.MI). 

[Nora Buli]

More: Norway to ramp up offshore wind in drive to go green

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