“I believe Norway’s future is reflected in the past. We hadn’t opened areas north of the North Sea 30 years ago, and that was a major discussion back then. Our confidence in ourselves increases as we develop new technology,” Minister Borten Moe said at Wednesday morning’s meeting in Stavanger Forum.
“New areas will be opened up. There is no reason to stop now. Norway’s present boundaries end almost right up at the North Pole.”
Full speed northwards
A number of oil companies at ONS have discussed the possibility of drilling further and further into Arctic waters. Environmentalists, however, are concerned about the consequences of a possible oil spill.
Ola Borten Moe disagrees this is a problem.
“It seems some think that you have to choose between drilling in the Arctic and the environment. The first well was drilled in this area more than 100 years ago. It is not a new phenomenon. We have an oil company that has a lot of experience and they have a partnership that stretches up to the High North,” he said.
“I strongly believe that we can meet these challenges together. It’s not a question of whether we can do it, but how.”
Barents Sea opening next year
He declared that the first step on the journey is to drill more, which is why opening the new area in the southeastern Barents Sea located on the Norwegian side of the border with Russia is planned to occur as soon as possible.
“The plan is to present this in a whitepaper to parliament in the spring of 2013, provided no new information appears. I hope it’s possible include these areas in the 23 licensing round,” he concluded.