The Polar mission of the Norwegian oil industry

Oct 17, 2008 02:00 AM

Head of the Norwegian Oil Industry Association (OLF) says the northern parts of the Barents Sea including the Spitsbergen waters should be opened for drilling by year 2014. He does not believe it will be an environmental hazard.
Speaking at the OLF's annual conference, Mr Per Terje Vold highlighted that the northern part of the Barents Sea, as well as the Lofoten and Vesteralen areas, should be opened for drilling. He also underlined that all of northern Norway should be included in the Norwegian oil and gas policies "the sooner the better".

"There are limits for how long we can wait, because now we are finding only small fields, the oil and gas representative said, adding that new and promising areas in the north therefore must be opened. Norway is currently experiencing a significant drop in oil production as North Sea field are beyond peak production. The industry cries for new fields and the North as the future."
"The southern parts of the Barents Sea are already opened, and we should aim at the opening of the northern parts after 2014," he maintained. "It takes 15-20 years from new fields are opened to production are started," he added.

Mr Vold does not think that a massive opening for Arctic drilling will include an environmental hazard.
"If we manage to find resources, secure an environmentally responsible management and meet requirements on health, environment and security, then I do not believe that these areas differ substantially from the other areas where we have been," he underlines. "We have 40 years of experience and optimistically assess the possibility to find pragmatic solutions," he added.

The association leader underlined that the oil industry has the same goals as the environmental organisations -- to protect biological diversity, secure the fish stocks and prevent spills.
In his speech, Mr Vold also accused several politicians of "uncritically adopting badly founded environmental arguments".
"When the arguments are based on erroneous facts [...] the debate becomes more difficult," he maintained.

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