Norway considers drilling in Lofoten IslandsNews // May 15, 2013
Broker Westshore reports that talks in the Norwegian Parliament have resulted in the first steps towards opening up the Lofoten Islands for hydrocarbon exploration,
Norway’s first new acreage in almost two decades.
As Westshore noted in its latest monthly report, the Northern part of Norway, around the Lofoten Islands has long been hailed as a place of signicant natural beauty as well being home to countless species of birds, animals and sea life. In particular the islands are used as a spawning ground for huge shoals of cod migrating down from the Barents Sea during winter.
These factors have resulted in keeping the area from any oil and gas exploration, in fact it remains the last untouched area offshore Norway.
"Huge controversy has surrounded the opening up of the area due to the potential environmental impact," said Westshore.
This month however the ruling Labour Party has given the go-ahead to beginning an environmental impact assessment on the area, the firrst step towards beginning
A week-long parliamentary debate followed what has been months if not years of debate around the country ended in a vote to begin proceedings. 194 delegates were in favour while 104 were against, crucially however Norway’s top three parties have declared they are in favour of exploration in the area.
As Westshore also reported, the Arctic area has been subject to a sovereignty
dispute with Russia for 40 years but has recently been delineated. The Lofoten area meanwhile will represent the first new oil acreage for Norway in nearly 20 years.
Seismic surveys in the southeastern Barents Sea have revealed that as much as
1.9bn boe could lie there. As Norway’s oil and gas production continues to decline, new finds and the ability to go out and find new fields are crucial to maintaining the lifeblood of the nation’s economy.
The Lofoten Islands could hold as much as 8 per cent of the country’s untapped resources, said Westshore.
However, despite what is being seen as a major step towards opening up the area, actual drilling will not begin before a further vote in 2015.