Une Bastholm fears oil compromise: “It’s a diversion maneuver”

Photo: Annika Byrde / NTB

Green Party (MDG) leader Une Bastholm has warned the other environmental parties in the Norwegian parliament (Storting) against accepting an oil exploration stop that is limited to immature areas on the continental shelf.

“It’s a diversion maneuver,” Bastholm told NTB.

She is now looking at the recent signals about a possible compromise on oil exploration with concern. The idea is that exploration will stop in immature areas on the Norwegian shelf but continue in mature areas where oil and gas activities are already underway.

“I would warn against such a compromise,” Bastholm said.

“I would go so far as to say that it is not a compromise. It’s just a softener.”

Two types of licensing rounds

The background is that in the oil management in Norway, a distinction is made between two types of licensing rounds: numbered rounds and APA rounds (Awards in Predefined Areas).

Numbered licensing rounds have been carried out since 1965. In these rounds, immature parts of the shelf are explored where the uncertainty is greater but where it is also possible to make large discoveries. The 25th licensing round was completed in June, while work on a possible 26th round has not yet begun.

The APA rounds, on the other hand, focus on mature parts of the shelf. These rounds are held annually.

Intermediate position

The Red Party, Socialist Left Party, Green Party, and Liberal Party all go to the polls with a full oil exploration-stop policy. The Christian Democrats, on the other hand, have taken an intermediate position – namely that there must be an end to numbered rounds, but that the APA rounds can continue.

It is this intermediate position that may now appear to have some wind in its sails – and which the Green Party warns against.

“The battle is not about the numbered licensing rounds. It is the allocation of exploration permits in the known and mature areas that is difficult politically, and where we in the environmental parties must be stubborn and uncompromising on behalf of the youngest and the poorest in the world,” Bastholm said.

APA rounds dominate

To substantiate the argument, she puts the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy’s own figures on the table:

* In the last eight years, nine APA rounds and three numbered rounds have been completed. 

*As many as 523 of the total 545 new production licenses offered in these licensing rounds have been offered in APA rounds.

* In the 25th licensing round in 2020, four production licenses were offered, compared with 61 in APA 2020.

“The oil industry itself sees that oil’s heyday is over and that it is in mature areas that there is the best potential in the future to make money from exporting oil and gas before the world phases it out completely,” Bastholm said.

“That’s where the battle is. This is where we, the Liberal Party, the Socialist Left Party, and the Red Party have to be uncompromising.”

Equinor’s signals

The Green Party leader’s warning comes after Equinor’s executive vice president for exploration and production in Norway, Kjetil Hove, played down the importance of the numbered rounds in an interview with NTB last week.

“It is the APAs that are most important to us because that is where the greatest value potential on the Norwegian shelf lies,” Hove told NTB.

In the same article, Labor Party (AP) leader Jonas Gahr Støre stated that he is paying attention to the signals from the industry.

“The message from the companies now is that it is in the areas where we have infrastructure and discoveries that it is most interesting to map resources. I think this is an important track to take forward. But we must make wise decisions about this if we are given government responsibility,” he said.

Previously, Prime Minister Erna Solberg (H) also stated that the APA rounds would be most important in the future.

Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews

Do you have a news tip for Norway Today? We want to hear it. Get in touch at [email protected]

1 Comment on "Une Bastholm fears oil compromise: “It’s a diversion maneuver”"

  1. And just today, OPEC+ notified of their plans to increase oil production. Very nice concerns and solutions dear “greens” and “young climate activists” 🙂

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.