Reservoirs in Norway remain at record low levels

Reservoirs used for hydroelectric production, which Norway relies on for its energy needs, remain at their lowest levels in 20 years, the latest figures show.

Pictured is a dam in Norway. Norway is dependent on hydroelectric dams to meet its energy needs.
Reservoirs in Norwya remain at 20 year lows. Pictured is a dam in Norway. Norway is dependent on hydroelectric dams to meet its energy needs. Photo by Bjørn Kamfjord on Unsplash

Norway’s reservoirs are up 0.7 percent overall compared to last week. Still, it’s bad news on the whole as reservoirs are at record low levels, the latest statistics from the Norwegian Directorate of Water Resources (NVE) show.

Filling levels in east and south-west Norway have remained at 20-year lows, despite the reservoirs in east Norway being up 2.2 percent points and those in the south-west being 0.8 percent higher.

Low reservoir filling levels, along with power export cables, the war in Ukraine and high gas prices have contributed to sky-rocketing energy prices in southern Norway since 2021.

Previously, analysts have refused to rule out the possibility of prices of up to 20 kroner per kWh.

Across the country, reservoirs are, on average, 68.1 percent full. The average for the past 20 years is around 83 percent. Dams in eastern Norway are 68.5 percent full, while the level recorded in south-west Norway is just over 50 percent.

In central and northern Norway, reservoirs are at higher than average levels for the time of year. These parts of the country also have the lowest energy prices. 

Energy experts have told The Local prices would remain high until the spring when the snow from the winter melts and makes its way to dams.

“But prices will remain high until there is enough water in the reservoirs – that is, until spring, which is a crucial point in time. When it comes to prices, of course, the temperature will play the most important role. With colder temperatures, the prices will be higher. If the temperatures are milder, it will be less challenging. As you know, the temperature is important for gas prices, which – in turn – are important for electricity prices,” Tor Reier Lilleholt, head of analysis at Volue Insight, told The Local.

READ MORE: What is the worst-case scenario for electricity prices in Norway this winter?

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Norway accepts European military aid to secure oil sector

Norway's prime minister said Friday the country, which has become Europe's biggest supplier of natural gas, had accepted military contributions from France, Germany and Britain to secure its oil and gas sector.

Norway accepts European military aid to secure oil sector

“We are in discussions with our allies to increase the (military) presence in the Norwegian sector and have accepted German, French and British contributions,” Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store told a press conference, following the alleged sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines in the Baltic Sea.

His comments came days after four leaks were discovered in the Nord Stream gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea, which bring Russian gas to Europe.

The leaks were caused by underwater explosions corresponding to hundreds of kilogrammes of explosives and look like a deliberate act, a Danish-Swedish report said Friday.

“I understand that people are worried about the consequences that the situation in the Baltic Sea may have and that something similar may happen to the oil installations,” Store said.

“We have no indication that there are any direct threats to the Norwegian oil sector,” the Norwegian leader added.

Following the Nord Stream explosions and leaks, Norway had already said it would beef up security around its oil installations, amid allegations of sabotage.

“The government has decided to put measures in place to increase security at infrastructure sites, land terminals and platforms on the Norwegian continental shelf,” Norwegian Energy Minister Terje Aasland said in a statement on Tuesday.

Norway has become Europe’s main gas supplier in the wake of the war in Ukraine, taking the place of Russia.

The Scandinavian country has a vast network of pipelines, stretching for almost 9,000 kilometres, linking it to the continent, which experts have said are at risk of sabotage.

On Friday, Støre said that two Norwegian Coast Guard vessels had been diverted to patrol near oil platforms and that the area was also being monitored by a maritime patrol aircraft.

The Norwegian prime minister met several European leaders and the head of NATO on Friday, and is expected to visit the Sleipner oil platform in the North Sea on Saturday.

Norway, as well as Britain, France, and Germany, are all members of the NATO military alliance.