“This is the start for real repercussions in the north,” says Kjell Giæver, head of the supply network Petro Arctic.
“Opening of new areas on the Norwegian Continental Shelf is a historic moment. It is realistic to believe in oil or gas production from these areas within 2030,” Giæver says with a big hope that regional industry in northern Norway will get its share of the investments and jobs.
On Wednesday, the government awarded 10 new licenses with 40 blocks in total for exploration of oil and gas. Three of the licenses are located in the newly opened area in the southeastern part of the Norwegian sector of the Barents Sea, including along the maritime border to Russia.
Other blocks are in the high north near the Arctic ice edge. While environmental groups loudly criticize the decision, local businesses along the coast of Finnmark praise the government’s big oil initiative and welcome petroleum companies.
Petro Arctic is an organization representing the interest of companies wishing to position themselves as suppliers to the development and operation of oil and gas projects in North Norway and the Barents Sea.
“Repercussions in the north increase with more activities at sea, now it is Eastern Finnmark that will see wealth creation,” says Kjell Giæver. He points to growing oil price combined with the industry’s high focus on reducing costs.
“This is very positive for developing petroleum industry in northern Norway, and discoveries in these new areas will be more attractive.”
Norway has been drilling the Barents Sea since 1980. Tromsø-flaket was opened in 1979, while additional acreage was opened later in the 1980ies. In 1981, the first discovery was made in the area today constituting a part of the Snøhvit natural gas development, with production start of Hammerfest LNG plant in 2007.
In March this year, the first oil production in the Norwegian part of the Barents Sea started at Goilat northwest of Hammerfest. Other field with discoveries that later might be developed are Johan Castberg, Wisting and Alta/Gotha.
Related stories from around the North:
Canada: Trudeau and Obama’s Arctic endeavours, Deutsche Welle Ice-Blog
Finland: Experts question Finland’s energy decisions, data, Yle News
Norway: Nobel Peace Prize winners call for halt to Arctic drilling, The Independent Barents Observer
Russia: Spilled oil spreads into more rivers, fuels popular discontent, The Independent Barents Observer
Sweden: Will Sweden be able to produce enough energy in the future?, Radio Sweden
United States: Shell isn’t the only oil company leaving Alaska’s Arctic, Alaska Dispatch News