Denmark Moves to Sell Off Its Last Oil Company
Denmark is bidding a definite farewell to the fossil fuel era, with a proposed US$7.45-billion deal to sell off its last oil company in 2018 if national regulators approve.
“Once considered a strategic asset, on a par with national carriers or shipyards, the oil and gas division of A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S is being bought by French giant Total SA,” Bloomberg New Energy Finance reports, in a story picked up by Australia’s RenewEconomy. “Coming just three months after the sale of Dong Energy’s North Sea oil and gas production to German-based Ineos AG, Maersk’s move to offload its oil division has been welcomed by the government and trade unions alike. Even the nationalist Danish People’s Party, which supports the government in parliament, didn’t object.”
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Total has promised to keep up production from Denmark’s North Sea oil fields—since, ironically, the country needs the revenue to fund its drive to phase out fossil fuels by 2050.
“The more money they make on the North Sea, the more money there will be for us to spend on the green transition,” Energy Minister Lars Christian Lilleholt told BNEF.
But even so, it’s clear that the post-carbon transition is well under way in Denmark. The country is home to the world’s biggest wind turbine manufacturer, Vestas, derived more than 40% of its electricity from renewable energy in 2015, and has set a 50% target for 2020, Bloomberg notes. “The country’s green sector already employs about 67,000 people, double the number of workers in its North Sea industry.”
That activity, meanwhile, is based on expertise Denmark originally developed to support a domestic oil exploration industry. “Denmark’s green transition is based on our vast experience in offshore construction,” noted Social Democratic Party finance spokesperson Benny Engelbrecht.