Natural Resources and Sustainability

The large reserves of oil and gas under the North Sea have made Norway a rich country that looks after its people well. Investment in clean and renewable energy sources has helped to make Norway number one on the United Nations' list of the best countries to live in for eight years running.

Only 4% of the land in Norway is arable (suitable for growing crops) so while farming does take place, there are other valuable natural resources that benefit the people of Norway; from above the land to under the sea.

The country’s many rivers and waterfalls give Norwegians access to a renewable source of electric power. Hydroelectric power generates cheap electricity for homes, businesses and industry. Another important source of energy comes from the deposits of oil and gas under the North Sea. Norway is self sufficient in natural gas and oil, so doesn’t need to buy in this fuel from anywhere else. This supply of oil and gas brings in money from exports to other countries, including the UK. There are further large areas of oil and gas under the seabed, which will provide energy for many years to come.

The forests of Norway provide timber for making building materials, furniture and paper. These wood-based products are exported around the world. The sea itself is also a valuable resource and there are rich fishing grounds off the country’s long coastline, particularly in the oceans off the north of Norway. Today, Norway’s fishing industry exports fish it has caught and farms it, too. Fish-farming creates a food source for the future and gives jobs to thousands of Norwegians.


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Did You Know?

Norway is the largest oil-exporting nation in Europe and supplies around 20% of Western Europe’s gas needs. Norway’s metallic (mined) minerals include iron ore, copper, zinc, lead, gold, nickel, coal and ilmenite. Until twenty years ago, iron ore was Norway’s most important mineral, but production has decreased in recent years. Norway has Europe’s largest deposits of ilmenite, which is used in paint, plastic, and paper production.