Norway says yes to Arctic oil

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The Norwegian government Friday gave it blessing to oil company ENI’s development plans for the Goliat field in the Barents Sea.  Among the government’s conditions are low carbon dioxide emissions and top standard preparedness mechanisms.

The government officially approves the development of the Arctic oil field located about 85 km northeast of Hammerfest.  A press release from the Ministry of oil and energy reads that the project, one of the biggest in northern Norway ever, will generate about 500 new jobs.

Investments are estimated to 28 billion NOK.  The field contains about 174 million tons of oil.

A number of conditions will however be linked with the project.  It is expected that the government will demand that all electricity is taken from the mainland in order to reduce emissions of CO2.  The government approval is a blow to cabinet junior partner Socialist Left Party, which long has called for a stop in the Goliat plans.

Also regional authorities in northern Norway remain skeptical towards the field plans.  It took long time for ENI to convince regional politicians about the need to develop the field offshore and not land the oil.  Many now fear that the project will not generate jobs and new industry in the region.

Leader of the Finnmark County Council Runar Sjåstad still says to NRK that he has high expectations for the project and that companies in the region must be included in field preparations.

Also environmentalists fear for the consequences of the project. Environmental organization Nature and Youth says it will continue to fight the field plans.  Also the Bellona Foundation on its website underlines that the fight against ENI and the field development is not over.

www.barentsobserver.com

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