The Labour Party, the biggest one in the parliament of Norway, recently withdrew its support for the explorative drilling for oil off the Lofoten islands in the Arctic that are considered a natural wonder.
This move created a majority against oil drilling in this sensitive offshore area and illustrates the opposition to the pollution that’s being caused by fossil fuel which has made Norway one of the most affluent countries.
This country pumps out more than 1.6 million barrels of oil per day from their offshore operations.
Why Does Norway Oppose to Oil Drilling in the Lofoten Islands?
According to the biggest oil producer in Norway, the state-controlled Equinor ASA Company, getting access to the oil in Lofoten is pivotal for the country to be able to keep its production levels.
There is supposedly between 1 to 3 billion barrels of oil beneath the Lofoten archipelago.
This area has been kept off limits for years by the coalition government of Norway through several political arrangements.
Karl Eirik Schjott-Pedersen, head of the Norwegian Oil and Gas Association, said that the entire oil industry is surprised and disappointed.
Schjott-Pedersen further added that this didn’t provide the predictability they are dependent on.
A Major Rift in the Labour Party
The opposition of the Labour party also opened up a rift as the leadership is trying to reflect the increase of environmental concerns of the population, while still trying to support the workers in the oil industry, which have been major supporters of the party.
The leader of the party said that they’ll continue the support for the oil industry; however, they also want the oil firms to commit to a deadline that will make all their oil and gas operations free of emissions.
Industry Energy, the biggest oil union in Norway which has long been an ally of the Labour Party attacked the party’s changed stance on oil drilling.
The union leader claimed that this causes an imbalance in the policy discussions for an industry that depends on permanent perspective and that they can’t accept this.
He also added that there are probably a lot of individuals in the industry who’re wondering what the Labour Party actually stands for.
Norway’s oil fund stated that they’ll stop the investments in 134 companies that have oil and gas exploration; however, they explain that they’ll keep the stakes in big oil firms like Shell and BP that have renewable energy sectors.