Norwegian billionaire to buy 10 oil tankers: report

Norwegian-born shipping tycoon John Fredriksen plans to spend millions of dollars to buy 10 oil tankers, hoping that their fuel capacity will give him an edge in a market facing severe overcapacity, the Financial Times reported on Monday.

Norwegian billionaire to buy 10 oil tankers: report
Photo: Heiko Junge/Scanpix (File)

Fredriksen plans to buy the medium range oil carriers from an as yet undisclosed builder for Frontline 2012, which was created last year as part of a massive restructuring of Frontline, one of the world's leading oil tanker shipping companies, the British financial daily reported.

The plan of adding more new tankers to a market already facing a significant glut might "seem crazy to most people," Fredriksen acknowledged to the paper.

But he insisted that "at today's bunker prices, we'll save $10,000 a day" due to the new vessels' high fuel capacity, and pointing out he had been offered prices down to $85 million per vessel compared to the peak price of $180 million.

Fredriksen, who lives in London and has become a citizen of Cyprus for taxation reasons, owns 52 percent of Frontline 2012.

Last year, Fredriksen ranked 72nd on Forbes' list of world billionaires, with a personal net worth of $10.7 billion.

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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.