Statoil getting ready for more drilling in Barents Sea

The Polar Pioneer (

Norwegian oil major Statoil has got permission for drilling at the Skrugard field in the Barents Sea. Together with ENI, the company now also seeks permission for drilling at the Lunde field, located closer to land in the area.


The Norwegian Climate and Pollution Agency last week granted Statoil permission to drill at the Skrugard field, located to the north of the Snøhvit field about 200 km from the mainland. In a press release, the agency underlines that the drilling permission at Skrugard includes stricter environmental requirements than normal.

Along with ENI, Statoil is now also in the process of getting permission for drilling at the Lunde field, located only 80 km from the northern Norwegian coast.

The latter project enrages environmentalists who argue that field should remain untouched by the oilmen. Leader of Friends of the Earth Norway, Lars Haltbrekken, confirms to NRK that his organization will not tolerate drilling at the Lunde prospect, and that a permission from the Pollution Agency will be appealed to the Ministry of Environment.

Haltbrekken believes the oil companies have not learnt from the spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

-All the scenarios which have been made by ENI are made several years ago and do not include any of the new knowledge acquired after the accident [in the Gulf of Mexico], he says. In addition to the Skrugard and Lunde fields, Shell this year plans drilling at the Gro and Dalsnuten fields in the Norwegian Sea.

Both the Barents Sea and Norwegian Sea are the main area of expansion for the Norwegian oil industry. As previously reported by BarentsObserver, 2011 will see a major increase in drilling in the area. In the 21st Norwegian license round a total of 51 new blocks in the Barents Sea and 43 new blocks in the Norwegian Sea are included. They will form the basis for production licenses issued in spring 2011.

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