Norway to re-open Barents Sea for exploratory drilling

Dec 16, 2003 01:00 AM

The Norwegian government has confirmed reports that it will re-open the Barents Sea for exploratory drilling, while at the same time blocking any activity around the Lofoten Archipelago for the time being. This was announced by Oil and Energy Minister Einar Steensnaes.
There has been internal disagreement in the three-party coalition government about the oil activity in the northern waters. Environmental organizations have also protested against any drilling in the vulnerable region.

The government's decision is seen as a compromise between the call for more jobs in the north, and the opposition from the fishermen against the risk of destroying the most important spawning grounds for fish. Steensnaes promised to issue strict demands for measures to protect the environment.
Of the political parties, the Socialist Left Party is still strongly critical of the government's decision to re-open drilling in the Barents Sea. It also criticises the government for not putting a permanent embargo on drilling in Lofoten waters.

Source: The Norway Post
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