“Statoil must stop drilling immediately”

Frederic Hauge with the Bellona Foundation.

STAVANGER: Bellona’s Frederic Hauge says Statoil can’t continue its current Barents Sea drilling since the appeal period for the permission has not yet expired.


It is the Norwegian newspaper VG that Wednesday evening reports that Statoil has started the drilling at its Isfjell license. Complains to the permission are delivered both by Bellona and Greenpeace. The two environmental groups say no activities can be started before the appeal period has expired, earliest on September 18th

Greenpeace is currently in the Barents Sea with the vessel “Espenanza”.

In Stavanger, where one of the world’s largest oil exhibitions takes place this week, is Bellona with their vessel “Kalinika” having a group of environmental experts onboard.

When BarentsObserver meets Frederic Hauge onboard “Kalinika” he is distressed by Statoil’s ongoing drilling in the Barents Sea.

“Statoil should be relaxed, not be in such hurry,” says Frederic Hauge, adding that “leading climate experts worldwide say much of the unexplored oil should continue to be just that; unexplored.” 

Hauge will now appeal Statoil’s drilling to the Norwegian Environmental Agency, asking for an immediately drilling stop, VG reports.

Statoil says the company has the needed permissions.

“We received a discharge permit and permission to drill from the Environmental Agency and the Petroleum Authority on Monday. Therefore, we started drilling operation. But the agency has pointed out that we should just drill the top and not in the oil-bearing strata before the deadline expires. This means that we currently only drill in the top sections before coming into the oil reservoir,” Statoil press spokesman Morten Eek says to VG.

The Isfjell prospect is located 35 kilometers north of the Johan Castberg oil field discovery and is drilled by the “Transocean Spitsbergen” rig.

Statoil has been busy on a series of wildcats in the Barents Sea this year. So far, no compercial oil discoveries are reported.