Norway oil production to shrink in 2012

Oil output in Norway, one of the world's leading exporters of the black gold, is expected to fall further this year following a 5.6-percent drop in 2011, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate said on Monday.

Norway oil production to shrink in 2012
Photo: L.C. Nøttaasen (File)

The Scandinavian country should produce around 1.6 million barrels of oil per day (mb/d) this year, compared with 1.7 mb/d in 2011 and 1.8 mb/d in 2010.  

Natural gas, which accounts for a growing share of Norway's energy production, also saw output slip last year by 5.0 percent to 101.3 billion cubic metres, but the Petroleum Directorate said the decline was largely market-driven.

"Gas sales are expected to rise in the next few years," it pointed out in a statement.

Since its peak in 2001, Norwegian oil production has gradually shrunk as new discoveries have failed to replenish dwindling reserves, and it now stands at less than half the level of output seen a decade ago.

Natural gas is expected to account for 50 percent of Norway's total petroleum-based production by 2016, up from 46 percent last year, according to the Petroleum Directorate.

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NGOs take Norway to European Court over Arctic oil exploration

Two NGOs and six young climate activists have decided to take Norway to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to demand the cancellation of oil permits in the Arctic, Greenpeace announced on Tuesday.

NGOs take Norway to European Court over Arctic oil exploration
Northern Norway. Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash.

It’s the latest turn in a legal tussle between environmental organisations Greenpeace and Young Friends of the Earth Norway on one side and the Norwegian state on the other.

The organisations are demanding the government cancel 10 oil exploration licenses in the Barents Sea awarded in 2016, arguing it was unconstitutional.

Referring to the Paris Agreement, which seeks to limit global warming to less than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the organisations claim that the oil licenses violated article 112 of Norway’s constitution, guaranteeing everyone the right to a healthy environment.”

The six activists, alongside Greenpeace Nordic and Young Friends of the Earth Norway, hope that the European Court of Human Rights will hear their case and find that Norway’s oil expansion is in breach of human rights,” Greenpeace said in a statement.

In December, Norway’s Supreme Court rejected the claim brought by the organisations, their third successive legal defeat.

READ MORE: Norway sees oil in its future despite IEA’s warnings 

While most of the judges on the court agreed that article 112 could be invoked if the state failed to meet its climate and environmental obligations– they did not think it was applicable in this case.

The court also held that the granting of oil permits was not contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights, in part because they did not represent “a real and immediate risk” to life and physical integrity.

“The young activists and the environmental organisations argue that this judgment was flawed, as it discounted the significance of their environmental constitutional rights and did not take into account an accurate assessment of the consequences of climate change for the coming generations,” Greenpeace said.

On Friday, the Norwegian government unveiled a white paper on the country’s energy future, which still includes oil exploration despite a warning from the International Energy Agency (IEA).

The IEA recently warned that all future fossil fuel projects must be scrapped if the world is to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The Norwegian case is an example of a global trend in which climate activists are increasingly turning to courts to pursue their agenda.