The Norway oil industry was in shock when the largest party in the country withdrew support for exploratory drilling off the natural wonder in the Arctic; the Lofoten islands.
The Labour party’s move created a vast parliamentary majority against oil exploration in those offshore areas because the polluting fossil fuel made Norway one of the world’s most affluent countries.
Approximately 1.6 million barrels of oil are pumped out daily from its offshore operations.
Gaining access to the oil supplies in the Lofoten islands is of enormous importance for the country to maintain production levels, announced Norway’s largest oil producer, “Equinor ASA.” It is believed that beneath the seabed off the Lofoten archipelago, there are between 1 billion to 3 billion barrels of oil. Norway’s coalition government made political deals according to which those areas had been kept off-limits for years.
The chief of the Norwegian Oil and Gas Association, Karl Eirik, told Bloomberg that the industry is very disappointed because it doesn’t provide the predictability they depend on.
The leader of the Labour’s opposition, Jonas Gahr Store, exposed a rift as the leadership tried to reflect the population’s environmental concerns. But at the same time, the party is aiming to support the worker’s unions in the oil industry as well.
The store announced that his party would support the oil industry only if the oil firms commit to a deadline for doing all operations emissions-free. Industry Energy, which is Norway’s most significant oil union, has criticized the Labour party for its latest announcement.
Union’s leader Frode Alfheim told the Sydney Morning Herald that this stance creates imbalances in the policy discussions, which are not acceptable.
“Many will wonder what Labour stands for.”
It comes after Norway’s government gave $1trillion to the world’s biggest sovereign wealth oil fund to invest in renewable energy projects.
The whole wealth accumulated from fossil fuels is being used for future profits in renewable energy. Many countries and industries throughout the world have started fossil fuel divestment strategies.
Norway’s oil funds have declared that they are not going to invest in 134 oil and gas companies, but they will redirect the money in oil firms such as Shell and BP that have renewable energy divisions.
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Image Credit: The northern lights above Hamnoya, a fishing village in the Lofoten Islands/Getty