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OIL

Statoil sells stake in Iraqi oil field to Lukoil

Norwegian oil group Statoil has sold its stake in the massive West Qurna 2 field in south Iraq to Russia's Lukoil, the Norwegian company announced on Wednesday.

"Statoil has now transferred its 18.75 percent share in the West Qurna 2 field to the operator Lukoil following the Iraqi authorities' approval of the transaction," it said.

The financial terms of the deal were confidential, it added.

Statoil provided no details on why it was selling its stake, saying simply that "after thorough evaluation, we have decided to pursue other projects and opportunities."

Statoil has been a partner with Lukoil in the West Qurna 2 project since the two companies won a competitive bid in 2009.

West Qurna 2 is one of the world's biggest undeveloped oil fields, with known reserves of 12.9 billion barrels.

Statoil and Lukoil signed a 20-year deal in early 2010, under which they were aiming to raise production at the field to 1.8 million barrels per day.

The companies were to receive fees of $1.15 per barrel extracted.

Iraq has the world's third-biggest oil reserves, with an estimated 115 billion barrels.

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OIL

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.

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