Key regulations and goals on SLCPs in Norway

This document summarizes key regulations and goals for Norwegian emissions of SLCPs.

Methane and HFC emissions are covered by Norway's GHG reduction goals. Norway plans to reduce its global greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of 30 % of its own 1990 emissions by 2020. By 2030, Norway plans to reduce its GHG emissions by the equivalent of 40 % compared to the 1990 emissions.

Regulation of methane emissions from the oil and gas sector

Emissions to air from the Norwegian oil and gas sector  are regulated through several acts; the Pollution Control Act and The Greenhouse Gas Emission Trading Act, the CO2 Tax Act (offshore) and the Petroleum Act. Our requirements and regulations are based on EU-directives, e.g. the Directive (IED 2010/75/EU) on Industrial Emission.

Individual permits pursuant to the Pollution Control Act regulate the offshore oil and gas fields and the onshore oil and gas facilities. Important regulatory principles pursuant to the Pollution Control Act are the Polluter pays, the "Precautionary Principle" and use of Best Available Techniques (BAT).

The petroleum Act states that flaring on the Norwegian continental shelf is prohibited unless for safety reasons. Permits are granted on a case-by-case basis on technical and safety grounds. This regime is a main reason why the flare gas volumes emitted from upstream oil and gas installations in Norway are less than 1/3 of the global average. The CO2 Tax Act introduced in 1991 provided further incentives for the operators on the Norwegian continental shelf  to reduce flaring (e.g. flare gas recovery) and thereby methane emissions.

Another instrument is the Greenhouse Gas Emission Trading Act. Norway is a part of the harmonized EU ETS and has implemented the EU ETS regulations.

Regulation of HFCs

Today emissions of HFCs account for around 1% of global greenhouse gas emissions. However, emissions are increasing by 10-15% yearly due to the phase out of ozone-depleting substances (CFCs, HCFCs) and economic growth. The main application areas of HFCs are different types of cooling equipment in households, vehicles and the commercial sector.

Since HFCs started to make an impact on Norwegian GHG emissions, Norway has had an active policy on limiting HFC emissions through reducing demand (use of other cooling agents or alternative processes), containment (reducing leakage) or collection (safe disposal of used gas). As a result, the expected growth in emissions of HFCs has been significantly reduced.

A tax and refund scheme has been in place for more than ten years. The tax is based on the global warming potentials (GWPs) of the HFCs or blends used. This encourages the use of low-GWP HFCs and natural refrigerant in new installations. The relatively high taxation level (approximately 40 USD per GWP ton) is also believed to contribute to better housekeeping of gas and less leakage. The tax is supplemented by a refund scheme, where the tax is returned when used gas is taken out of circulation. In practice this is implemented by a hazardous waste company that collects and refunds polluted or unused gas for safe destruction in cement kilns or dedicated hazardous waste treatment plants. In addition storage of larger amounts of used gas is prohibited by law.

Norway has implemented the EU regulation on certain fluorinated greenhouse gases (Regulation (EC) No 842/2006). This prescribes, among others, prohibitions of certain gases and uses, regular leakage tests of larger installations and requirements to technical personnel. We are now preparing the implementation of the revised regulation ((EC) No 517/2014 and have also implemented other related EU legislation, such as Directive 2006/40/EC on air-conditioning in motor vehicles (MAC-directive).

Regulations for ozone and black carbon

Ozone and non-GHG precursors are covered by Norwegian air pollution regulations. The Norwegian particle and ozone regulation is an implementation of EU regulation on ambient air quality. Legally binding limit values for PM10 and PM2.5 regarding health protection have to be met. There are no legally binding limit values for BC. For ground level ozone, there are given thresholds and target values. Norway is also required to reduce particles and ozone precursors under the LRTAP convention and the EU directive on national emission ceilings. The LRTAP convention encourages implementation of those PM measures that most effectively reduce BC emissions.

Local concentrations of ozone and NO2 are monitored in several major towns due to legal requirements (air pollution regulation under the Pollution Control Act). BC/OC levels are not monitored locally. However, PM10 and PM2.5 concentrations are measured locally in various major towns.