NRK: Former government withheld report on possible billion-kroner loss on oil drilling in the north

Oil platform - Odin Drill - Aker H3 plattformPhoto (illustration): Erik Thorberg / NTB Scanpix
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The Ministry of Petroleum knew in 2013 that oil exploration in the southeast Barents Sea could be a loss-making project. Still, it withheld calculations from the Norwegian parliament (Storting), according to Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK).

Only now, seven years later, did the information in the report come to light.

The report from the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate concluded that if the oil price fell by 30%, the Barents Sea in the southeast as a whole would probably turn “red” in financial terms. 

The information that did not come to light when the Storting was briefed on the issue, unanimously agreeing to oil exploration in the southeast area of the Barents Sea in 2013.

It was also not revealed when the district court and the court of appeal were to hear the climate lawsuit against the state, according to NRK.

Several professional economists in the directorate are said to have reacted to the handling of the issue but were not heard by the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy. 

“Sensational”

The arguments the Storting received from the government were that the values ​​in the area could be between NOK 50 and 280 billion.

Law professor Hans Petter Graver at the University of Oslo (UiO) believes that there may have been several offenses in the case processing.

“This is sensational and completely unparalleled information. One inevitably wonders whether this was a deliberate omission. 

“It is almost unbelievable that the ministry has kept both the Storting and the courts in the dark, even if this was due to a mistake,” Graver told NRK.

The then Minister of Petroleum and Energy Ola Borten Moe (SP), for his part, believes that the Storting received all relevant information.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today

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