Norway looks towards the Arctic for more oil

Dec 09, 2003 01:00 AM

With its traditional North Sea oilfields running out, Norway is eyeing the Arctic an approach that is backed by the oil industry but hotly contested by environmentalists.
The government must decide soon whether to allow test drilling around the Lofoten islands, a paradise-like and ecologically fragile archipelago in the Barents Sea, and the debate is heating up on the eve of the verdict.

Oil giants Statoil and Norsk Hydro are pressing the government to ensure that oil riches, which made Norway one of the world's wealthiest countries, do not end prematurely. They argue that existing exploration areas are slowly running dry, and that there has been no major oil discovery since 1997, a long time given that it takes several years to exploit an oil find.
Oil is the main source of income for Norway, the third-biggest oil exporter after Saudi Arabia and Russia. Fossil fuel makes up 22,6 % of Norway's gross domestic product and 41,5 % of its exports.

Source: Business Day
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