New oil fields open, demand wanes

It didn’t take Norway’s Oil & Energy Minister Tina Bru long to launch the country’s 25th licensing round for more oil exploration and potential production, after Parliament settled on how far north such activity can take place. It remains unclear, however, whether the oil companies will express as much interest as before. The opening of […]

Hurtigruten heads back to Svalbard

Norway’s venerable coastal passenger and cargo shipping line Hurtigruten has won government approval to sail around Svalbard again this summer. Justice Minister Monical Mæland approved the sailings, as long as the smaller expedition ships used for the cruises only take half as many passengers as usual. “Cruise is important for the tourism industry,” Mæland stated, […]

Russia plans new exercises in Arctic

Just weeks after NATO conducted military exercises in the Barents Sea, and now has forced Norway’s northern city of Tromsø to receive nuclear-powered submarines, Russia is responding with major exercises of its own. Russian officials are calling the NATO exercises off Norway a “provocation,” while the Norwegians say they haven’t been officially informed about them. […]

US and Britain flex muscle in the Arctic

Four US Navy ships and one from Britain have been sailing in the waters off Norway’s North Cape this week, without any vessels from their NATO ally sailing with them. Defense analysts calls it a strategic display of force, which Norway must follow closely. The Kirkenes-based Barents Observer reported Tuesday that the American and British vessels […]

‘Solid compromise’ over the ice edge

Environmental organizations were quick to protest, as has the Norwegian government’s former partner, but Prime Minister Erna Solberg hopes she’s now settled just how far north oil exploration and production can be allowed. As long as oil prices remain low, however, the bigger question is whether oil companies will even be interested in more expensive […]

High court to hear Arctic oil complaint

Norway’s Supreme Court (Høyesterett) has agreed to evaluate whether the state has violated Norway’s constitution by choosing to issue oil exploration licenses in the Arctic. It’s a breakthrough for the environmental organizations that claim oil exploration and production in Arctic areas violate Norwegians’ constitutional rights to a safe and healthy environment. “We look forward to […]

Finnmark dogsled race underway

Neither snow nor sleet nor the Corona virus could stop the 40th Norwegian dogsled race known as Finnmarksløpet. It took off over the weekend from Alta, along with a week-long winter festival that involves many local municipalities. The toughest competitors run 1,200 kilometers with their dogs over a course that stretches east from Alta via […]

Russia turns up the heat on Svalbard

Norway is resisting being drawn into a power struggle that’s heating up over important areas of the chilly Arctic. Russia, China and the US are all vying for more control in the region where Norway plays a major role through the Svalbard Treaty, which Russia accused Norway on Friday of violating. It’s the latest offense […]

Avalanche victims lacked location devices

Two German tourists killed in an avalanche on Svalbard Thursday were not equipped with electronic devices that could help them be located under the mounds of snow and ice. Both were found and dug out after an hour of searching, but emergency crews later had to declare both dead at the scene. The two avalanche […]

Norway on edge over its own ‘ice edge’

NEWS ANALYSIS: Norway is caught in the midst of battle over its so-called Arctic “ice edge,” which experts claim really isn’t an edge at all. It’s rather meant to define a particularly sensitive area of the Arctic under Norway’s control, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will be protected from oil and gas activity despite […]