Norway’s oil industry has recently been dealt a significant blow. The country’s largest party in the parliament withdrew its support for explorative drilling off the Lofoten islands.
The islands are considered a natural wonder and the drilling was expected to produce billions of barrels of oil.
The nation’s opposition Labour party made the majority vote against the oil exploration project, which resonated with the increasing opposition to the polluting fossil fuel that made Norway one of the world’s most wealthy.
At present, Norway pumps out more than 1.6 milion barrels of oil A DAY via its offshore operations.
The state-controlled Equinor ASA, the country’s largest oil producer, has expressed that getting access to the oil supplies in sensitive offshore area of Lofoten, is important for Norway to be able to maintain its oil production levels.
The Lofoten archipelago is said to have between 1 billion to 3 billion of oil beneath the seabeds. For years, the area has been kept off limits by Norway’s coalition government.
“The whole industry is surprised and disappointed,” said Karl Eirik Schjott-Pedersen, head of the Norwegian Oil and Gas Association told Bloomberg. “It does not provide the predictability we depend on.”
Jonas Gahr Store, the Labour’s opposition party leader, revealed a conflict in the party as the leadership tries to address the mounting environmental concerns while at the same time trying to support the workers’ unions in the oil industry. The unions have been major supporters of the party.
Store said that the opposition would continue its support for the oil industry.
Store also mentioned that they want the country’s oil firms to stick to a deadline that would require them to make their operations emissions-free.
Industry Energy, Norway’s biggest oil union, has attacked the Labour party for its stance on the Lofoten drilling. Incidentally, the union group has been a long-time ally of the party.
“It creates imbalances in the policy discussions for an industry that’s dependent on a long-term perspective and we can’t accept that,” said Frode Alfheim, the union’s leader, told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“There’s probably a lot of people in the industry who are wondering what Labour actually stands for.”
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