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OIL

Statoil slashes estimate of giant North Sea oil find

Norway's Statoil has slashed the estimate of the oil held in its largest Norwegian find in decades as it delays the start of production by a year.

Statoil slashes estimate of giant North Sea oil find
Workers on the Transocean Leader rig which drilled the well - Statoil
The company reduced the top range of its estimate for oil resources in the Johan Sverdrup field from 3.6 billion barrels to 2.9 billion barrels, a cut of almost 20 percent as it updated the market on its development plan. 
 
The field, one of the largest discoveries in the world in 2010/2011, was first made by Statoil's partner, Lundin Petroleum, which like Statoil has a 40 percent stake in the field. 
 
In a statement released on Friday, the company said that the final development concept would be decided early next year. 
 
"“We need to make the final clarifications and give the individual companies the opportunity to make a proper consideration. At the same time, the partners agree that we should award the FEED contract at soon as possible in order to keep momentum,” Øivind Reinertsen, senior vice president for the Johan Sverdrup field, said. 
 
The plan is to have the development plan approved during the Norwegian Parliament’s spring session in 2015. 
 
Production is expected to start in 2019. 

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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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