The EU Parliament today rejected a proposal to ban oil and gas activities in ice-free parts of the Arctic. The Norwegian Oil and Gas Association receives the news with satisfaction.
"Ever since 1979, we have demonstrated that it is fully possible to have safe and sustainable oil activities in the Norwegian Arctic. We are thus glad that the EU Parliament's decision on petroleum activities in the Arctic is in line with Norwegian policy and practice," says Erling Kvadsheim, Norwegian Oil and Gas Association's Director of Industry Policy.
The European Commission launched its proposed New EU Arctic Strategy in April last year.
The policy document titled "An integrated European Union Policy for the Arctic" has since then been discussed in a number of European Parliament committees.
During the revision, proposals about a total ban against drilling for oil and gas in Arctic areas have been submitted, and Norwegian Member of Parliament Eirik Sivertsen (Labor) and Jørn Dohrmann, Member of the European Parliament for the Danish People's Party and Chairman of the SINEEA Delegation (The European Parliament's Foreign Delegation) are among those reacting strongly to that.
Here you can read Dohrmann's op-ed "The EU Parliament Wants to Prevent Norwegian Oil and Gas Production in the Arctic" (written in Danish, editorial note), which High North News published yesterday.
The European Parliament's report on the Arctic was debated in Strasbourg yesterday, prior to today's vote.
Just like Sivertsen and Dohrmann, Erling Kvadsheim argues that there are significant variations in the climatic conditions in the Arctic. The conditions vary from the ice-free Norwegian areas to areas in Russia, the USA and Canada that are covered by ice for parts of the year, to the areas of Northeastern Greenland that are covered by ice year-round.
- The Gulf Stream has enabled human activity and business in the Norwegian Arctic for thousands of years. The conditions in the parts of the Norwegian Arctic that are open to petroleum activities are by and large comparable to conditions further south, Kvadsheim says in a press statement.
- We are reasonably satisfied with the outcome, Trond Haukanes, Director of the North Norway Representation Office says on the phone from Strasbourg.