“We can’t leave the Arctic to oil companies”

Maxime Verhagen strongly advocates the need for binding international regulations for drilling in the Arctic.

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Oil drilling in the Arctic is one of the topics that will be discussed at the ONS Summit in Stavanger, Norway, this year. Foto: Scanpix

Deputy Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Maxime Verhagen.

“We asgovernment officials cannot delegate responsibility for safety and security to the oil companies.We must take careof this ourselves. This is why we need international rules for drilling in theArctic,” Maxime Verhagen,who is also Holland’s Economy and Innovation Minister, tellsAftenbladet.Oil drilling in theArctic is one of the topics that will be discussed at the ONSSummit, the oil exhibition's focuson gathering global leaders and oil and gas company CEOs.

“Changes in geopolitical and commercialinterests mean we need new internationalrules,” Mr Verhagen continues.

NorwegianForeign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre has been at the forefront of discussions about oil drilling in the High North. He believesthat it is important and necessarythat Norway takes a leading role on the road to the Arctic and not leave it to others.

Requirements

Nevertheless, he also believes that this area is too vulnerable to let companies managethemselves.

“The Norwegian Continental Shelf extendingfrom the North Sea and into the BarentsSea appears to contain great opportunities. Strict requirements will allow these to be developedand utilised for explorationand production,” says Foreign Minister Støre.

“Wehave to expect that companies live up to the world'smost stringent environmental standards that we set, and also that they are part of the technological development towards limited and finally zero emissions.

Already begun

SwedishForeign Minister Carl Bildt had just arrived at the ONSSummit when Aftenbladet spoke with him. He clearly stated that

Swedish foreign minister, Carl Bildt. Foto: POOL

Sweden, which currently holdsChairmanship of the Arctic Council, is also keen to discuss oil drilling in the HighNorth.

“Weare already well underway with an international agreementon drilling in these areas,and the plan is to have this finished by the end of next year,” hesaid.

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