Norwegian oil exploration by Jan Mayen

Jan Mayen

The Norwegian government wants to start oil exploration in the waters around the far northern Jan Mayen island. -We have to uphold our revenues from oil production, the country’s oil minister says, adding that new areas now must be explored.


Minister Terje Riis-Johansen already after summer plans a visit to the island, NRK reports. According to the broadcaster, the Norwegian government has already opened up for oil exploration in the area in its management plan for the Norwegian Sea.

-If we are to uphold our oil revenues, we have to start production in new areas, Mr. Riis-Johansen says. Jan Mayen is a volcanic island in the Arctic which is partly covered by glaciers. The waters around the island hold rich fish stock.

The minister says he is confident that new technology will help the oil industry avoid hurting the Arctic marine environment. Environmentalists are however far from supportive.

-This is an area which we should stay clear of, Ingeborg Gjærum from the Nature and Youth organisation says to NRK.

Meanwhile, also Iceland has started studies of the petroleum potential of in the area. As reported previously by BarentsObserver, the country eyes hydrocarbon resources in the waters in the northern parts of its economic zone.

The Norwegian minister’s announcement comes as international focus on the hydrocarbon potential on the Arctic is increasing rapidly. As reported this week by BarentsObserver, Russian submarines have participated in a research operation in the waters between the Norwegian Island of Jan Mayen and Iceland in June with the aim to map potential petroleum resources. Two of the submarines were reportedly nuclear powered.