US embassy cable - 06OSLO101 (original version)

A/S FRIED'S VISIT: NORWAY AN ENERGY SECURITY PLAYER (original version)

Identifier: 06OSLO101
Wikileaks: View 06OSLO101 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Oslo
Created: 2006-01-31 15:11:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PREL NO ENGR
Redacted: This cable was redacted by Wikileaks. [Show redacted version] [Compare redacted and unredacted version]
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

C O N F I D E N T I A L  OSLO 000101 
 
SIPDIS 
 
 
FOR S AND P 
ASUNCION FOR DCM JOHNSON 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/31/2016 
TAGS: PREL, NO, ENGR 
SUBJECT: A/S FRIED'S VISIT: NORWAY AN ENERGY SECURITY PLAYER 
 
Classified By: Ambassador Benson K. Whitney for reasons 1.4 b and d 
 
1.  (C) Summary.  A/S Fried met with Foreign Minister Jonas 
Stoere and continued our "High North Dialogue" with Deputy 
Foreign Minister Kjetil Skogrand during his January 26-27 
visit to Oslo to participate in an E-PINE Political 
Directors' meeting (reported septel).  Stoere 
enthusiastically presented the growing global strategic 
importance of the Barents region's energy resources, noting 
that Norway has an important role to play as a "reliable, 
predictable, and long-term" supplier of oil and gas.  Stoere 
was optimistic that Norway would be able to resolve the 
decades-long maritime border dispute with Russia, clearing 
the way for energy development in the "disputed zone," an 
area larger than the North Sea production zone.  The Foreign 
Minister reiterated his invitation to the Secretary to visit 
Norway, specifically the North.  The Foreign Minister said he 
was on the same page as the EU-3 and us on referring Iran to 
the UNSC.  End Summary. 
 
Norway's Northern Region: A Key to Future Energy Needs 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -- - - - - - - - - - 
 
2.  (C) As he is prone to do, Foreign Minister Stoere 
confidently presented the growing strategic importance of the 
Barents region to global energy security in a meeting with 
A/S Dan Fried and DAS Mark Pekala January 27.  Norway is a 
"reliable, predictable, and long-term" supplier of oil and 
gas and by all estimates will tap even more resources in the 
coming decade, the FM explained.  Norway will begin shipping 
Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) out of its Snow White facility in 
2007 to the United States.  Snow White is forecast to meet 
about 6 percent of U.S. LNG import needs and could supply as 
much as 10-15 percent over the next decade. 
 
3.  (C) The Foreign Minister noted that he had discussed with 
U/S Nick Burns the idea of holding a seminar at the State 
Department in the next few months to raise awareness on the 
growing importance of the Arctic region and to continue the 
ongoing High North dialogue with us.  A/S Fried welcomed the 
idea of such a session and agreed to pursue it further.  A/S 
Fried noted that in light of the recent Russia/Ukraine gas 
crisis, ongoing problems in Eurasia, and mounting Polish 
energy supply concerns; the timing is ripe for looking at 
what Norway can do to improve energy security in the region. 
Norway is the model: "transparent, reliable, environmentally 
conscious," remarked Fried.  Stoere replied:  "we will never 
switch off" supply of gas/oil and added that Norway's 
approach is to be at full capacity always and that the time 
is now to discuss where new resources would be exported to as 
it comes on line. 
 
Deal on Maritime Border Dispute with Russia within Reach? 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
 
4.  (C) Turning to the unresolved maritime boundary with 
Russia in the Barents, FM Stoere told A/S Fried that Norway 
and Russia have agreed on how to delineate "about 80 percent" 
of the border and that he was optimistic that remaining 
issues could be resolved.  Stoere said Norway was ready to 
reach a deal, but after waiting for over 30 years, was 
prepared to wait some more if necessary.  Stoere said he 
plans to meet FM Lavrov February 17 and commented that when 
he last met Lavrov he asked him whether he could get an 
agreement through the Duma -- Lavrov was confident he could. 
 
Russia: a "Demanding Partner" 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
 
5.  (C) In the High North discussion with Deputy Foreign 
Minister Kjetil Skogrand the previous day, Skogrand told 
Fried that the Norway-Russian relationship is probably as 
good now as it has ever been.  Skogrand noted the some 
problems had arisen lately -- disputes over fishing rights in 
the Barents Sea and most recently the healthfulness of 
Norwegian salmon -- but, on the whole, Norway feels that it 
is being treated as a partner by Russia, even if Russia 
admittedly is a "demanding partner."  The Norwegians remain 
concerned about freedom of the press/NGOs and corruption/lack 
of transparency in the Russian energy sector. 
 
6.  (C) Continuing on the energy theme, Skogrand stated that 
Norway would like to see an American company involved in the 
development of the Russian Shtokman natural gas field in the 
Barents Sea, stating that only the U.S. and Norway can 
develop the project in an environmentally sound way. 
Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Statoil, NorskHydro, and Total are 
on the Russian's the short-list.  With Lavrov due to meet FM 
Stoere in February, the Norwegians are expecting a decision 
from Gazprom soon. 
 
7.  (C) A/S Fried reported on his recent visit to Poland, 
where energy security, particularly access to stable natural 
gas suppliers, was a key topic.  He thanked Norway for its 
role as a dependable energy supplier and stated that Norway 
was part of the solution to European energy security.  Fried 
continued saying that Norway could play a key role in 
providing non-Gazprom controlled supplies to Europe, 
especially Poland, which is interested.  Deputy FM Skogrand 
agreed that energy security was a top priority and added that 
it is a key component of the High North dialogue.  Skogrand 
made clear that Norway will remain a stable energy partner 
and welcomes new markets, but is currently producing all the 
natural gas that it can. 
 
Norway On Same Page Regarding NATO's Future. . . 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
 
8.  (C) Skogrand and A/S Fried enjoyed a lengthy exchange on 
the shared vision for NATO's future, including the U.S. 
"two-summit" strategy for 2006-2008.  The transatlantic 
relationship remains a pillar of Norwegian security policy, 
Skogrand emphasized.  Skogrand agreed it was important to 
look for opportunities for NATO to engage constructively in 
advancing broad Alliance objectives.  Specifically, Skogrand 
referred to the work NATO is undertaking to help the African 
Union with logistical support in Sudan. 
 
. . . And Agrees With EU-3 Position on Iran 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
 
9.  (C) Turning to Iran, A/S Fried stressed the importance of 
the U.S. and European consensus on referring Iran to the 
UNSC.  It is important that there be steady and incremental 
pressure on Iran, Fried argued.  Skogrand quickly agreed and 
stated that Norway was firmly in line with the EU3 position. 
He added that there needs to be a consensus to pressure Iran, 
but added that "a consensus to do nothing is worth nothing." 
Norway wants to remain in close contact on the issue. 
 
An Explanation on Cuba 
- - - - - - - - - - - - 
 
10.  (C) A/S Fried questioned Norway's decision to not invite 
dissidents to its Embassy's May 17th national day celebration 
in Havana.  Skogrand stated that it is more critical to keep 
a dialogue with an old leader's regime than to invite 
dissidents to a one-day celebration.  He assured Fried that 
Norway would not allow Castro to dictate the terms for the 
bilateral relationship.  Fried urged Skogrand to consider 
undertaking a meaningful effort to demonstrate their 
continuing commitment to the dissidents. 
 
No More Surprises 
- - - - - - - - - 
 
11.  (C) A/S Fried thanked the Foreign Minister for his 
prompt and correct response to the Finance Minister's 
outrageous call for a boycott of Israel earlier this month. 
Fried urged that we not have any more surprises.  Separately, 
DAS Pekala reiterated the point that the recent Cuba decision 
had also taken us aback. 
 
12.  (U) Participants in the High North discussion and 
meeting with FM Stoere included: 
 
U.S. 
- - 
Assistant Secretary Daniel Fried 
Ambassador Whitney 
DAS Mark Pekala 
P/E Chief Mike Hammer 
E-PINE Coordinator Mark Evans 
P/E David Henry (notetaker) 
 
Norway 
- - - - 
Deputy Foreign Minister Kjetil Skogrand 
DAS Trine Skymoen 
Office Director Anita Nergaard 
Office Director Erik Svedahl 
FM COS Oystein Bo 
U.S. Desk Officer Tora Faeste 
 
 
13.  (U) A/S Fried cleared this message. 
 
Visit Oslo's Classified website: 
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/oslo/index.cf m 
 
WHITNEY 
 
 
NNNN 

Latest source of this page is cablebrowser-2, released 2011-10-04