Fury surrounds new Arctic oil licenses

The Norwegian government and Oil Minister Tina Bru came under harsh criticism this week when they offered 136 new oil exploration licenses in more areas of the Arctic. The move comes while the Supreme Court and Parliament are reviewing the risks of earlier Arctic projects, and it was blasted as being both “arrogant” and “reckless.” […]

High court ponders future of Arctic oil

Opponents of offshore oil activity in Norway’s Arctic areas received flowers to mark the end last week of their landmark case against the state at the Supreme Court. As the high court’s deliberations began, the plaintiffs were cheered by earlier signs of royal support, not least after some harsh closing arguments. The case has received lots […]

High court hears Arctic oil appeal

A lengthy legal battle over whether Norway can continue to license oil operations in the Arctic reached the country’s highest court on Wednesday. If the court agrees that Norway has violated its own constitution by issuing licenses for oil industry activity in sensitive Arctic areas, all new oil exploration and production in the Barents Sea […]

Arctic oil losses report withheld

Norway’s Oil & Energy Ministry knew as early as 2013, when it was under the political control of former Oil Minister Ola Borten Moe, that already-controversial oil exploration in Norway’s Arctic could also generate huge losses. Moe’s ministry nonetheless withheld information about the potential losses from Parliament, which ultimately voted to allow Arctic oil drilling […]

Svalbard loses its only bank

News that Norway’s SpareBank1 was closing half of its 31 branches in Northern Norway hit the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard especially hard this week. Sparebank1 has been the only bank with a presence in Svalbard, and residents are unhappy. “This came as a complete surprise to us,” Trond Hellstad, chief of the bank branch in […]

Polar bear attacks man on Svalbard

UPDATED: Both a man from the Netherlands and a polar bear that attacked him during the night in a populated area of Svalbard were confirmed dead on Friday. The shocking attack occurred at a campground near Svalbard’s airport in Longyearbyen, and therefore inside an area generally considered to be safe. Officials on Svalbard were thus […]

Corona breaks out on Hurtigruten ship

One of the Norwegian cruise and shipping line Hurtigruten’s new hybrid expedition ships was berthed at Tromsø on Friday, after two ill crew members had to be hospitalized. They were confirmed as being infected with the Corona virus Covid-19 and now the rest of the crew must be tested, too, as Hurtigruten also contacts all passengers […]

Illegal emissions at Equinor gas plant

State oil company Equinor’s large natural gas plant at Melkøya outside Hammerfest has reported illegal emissions and pollution every year for the past 10 years. There haven’t been any punitive consequences, however, apart from official reminders that compliance is expected. Newspaper Finnmark Dagblad reported on the illegal emissions last weekend, and the national media has […]

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 Monica 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, […]