Rig ready to drill in the Barents Sea. Photo: Atle Staalesen

"A blind investment in oil"

Norwegian environmental organisations rage as the country's government issues a big number of new drilling licenses.
January 18, 2022


The Norwegian government’s announcement that another 53 licenses are awarded to oil companies triggers harsh reactions from environmentalists.

According to Greenpeace, Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre and his government is now ‘blindly investing’ in more oil.

“The Støre government shows its true face by putting the demands of the oil industry ahead of the need for just, green transformation,” head of Greenpeace Norway Frode Pleym says in a comment.

Frode Pleym is Head of Greenpeace Norway. Photo: Greenpeace

“While the world at record pace transforms from fossil to renewable, the Støre government continues to invest in oil,” he adds.

Pleym is especially concerned about the new licenses in the Barents Sea, and in particular a block located at 73 degrees North. The disputed block will be operated by Lundin Energy, the Swedish company that recently merged with Aker BP.

The new license awards are made as part of Norway’s Awards in predefined areas (APA).

According to Minister of Petroleum and Energy Marte Mjøs Persen, the new licenses are “an important contribution to maintain future exploration activity and to make new, profitable discoveries.”


Oil is major importance for Norwegian economy, she argues in a statement.

“The petroleum industry contributes with large revenues, value creation and jobs across the country. [and] Further exploration activity and new discoveries are crucial to develop the Norwegian petroleum industry.”

The awards include a total of 53 licenses, among them 28 in the North Sea, twenty in the Norwegian Sea and five the Barents Sea.

The APA-2021 is the first license round conducted by Norway’s new government. It comes about 5 months after UN General Secretary Antonio Guterres warned about a “code red for humanity” created by oil extraction.

“The alarm bells are deafening, and the evidence is irrefutable,” Guterres said in connection with the publication of the latest IPCC report.

Despite the warnings, Norway continues to pump hydrocarbons at its shelf.

In its policy platform, the Støre Government makes clear that climate change is a top priority, and that carbon neutrality will be reached by 2050.

At the same time, Støre also says that his government will continue to drill for oil. According to the policy document, the country’s petroleum industry “must be developed and not terminated.”



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