Norway on January 24 expressed that it plans to offer energy companies a record number of blocks in the Arctic for oil and gas exploration. The fact is that the Scandinavian country is looking to prolong its hydrocarbon production. Although, the green campaigners have criticized this step as it involves risk to the environment.
Norway, which happens to be Europe’s largest supplier of gas and a major crude exporter, has put forth 78 blocks across energy firms in the Barents Sea, which is the most since the time the APA licencing took place in 2003.
Oslo is also planning to give out 14 new blocks across the Norwegian Sea, which spreads through the north of the North Sea, right above the arctic circle, thereby bringing the total number of listed blocks to 92.
In 2022, the Norwegian government had added just about 28 blocks in total to the licencing round of the APA.
As per a statement released by the Terje Aasland, Norway Oil and Energy Minister, to ease new discoveries up north is very critical for the region, the country as well as entire Europe.
Norway’s insistence to keep producing oil and gas is a result of contradictory pressures on the energy firms, with the requirement on the one hand for hydrocarbon production that is not from Russia and on the other to diminish the effects of climate change. As per the estimates from a Norwegian official, it is well to be taken into account that the Barents Sea may have two-thirds of the oil and gas that is yet to be explored.
Socialist Left- SV, a lawmaker from the left-wing in November last year went on to negotiate with the Norwegian cabinet that there will not be any licensing round across the frontier regions during the current parliaments life that ends in 2025.
But this does not stop the government from giving out oil licences to oil firms in a distinct APA licencing round that offers regions with well-known geology as well as near existing infrastructure. Notably, at that point in time, the oil minister Aasland had said that the significance of numbered rounds has plunged in the years that have gone by, and according to him, what made the difference in maintaining the activity was the APA round.