Norway’s former prime minister Erna Solberg has urged the new government to award more exploration licences to boost the country’s ability to help ease Europe’s gas supply problems following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Solberg told Norwegian broadcaster NRK during an interview on Thursday that Europe will need more gas from Norway because of the war in Ukraine and also as a transition fuel for the continent’s drive towards the net zero emissions by 2050.

She said that one consequence of the Europe’s push to reduce its dependence on gas supplies from Russia could be to revive coal-fired power plants, which Solberg argued should be avoided because of its heavy greenhouse gas emissions.