Oil Disaster leads to increased skepticism against drilling in Lofoten

New Oil Rig

New Oil Rig

Experts and industry players believe that BP’s oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico will increase skepticism toward open for drilling in the Lofoten and Vesterålen.

Emissions in the Gulf of Mexico have long surpassed the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989, in scope. USAs Attorney General opens investigation of the oil spill and BP-price falls like a stone.

“Incident will strengthen the skepticism towards the opening of the areas around the Lofoten and Vesterålen, and I am therefore means that it is justified,” says NHH professor Rögnvaldur Hannesson to the Financial Times.


Bellona said to Dagens Næringsliv that they are sitting on evidence that confirms that several of the events that have affected BP, have also affected the Norwegian shelf.

Bellona head Frederic Hauge refers to Statoil’s next blowout on the Snorre, well problems at Gullfaks and leaks from several waste wells.

Bellona said emissions may have consequences when drilling to be evaluated in Vesterålen and Lofoten, and warns that the documentation would be presented next week during a consultation meeting on management plan for the area.

Requires DeepWater Halt

Conservation Association said that oil catastrophe may also have consequences for current operations, and demands immediate halt to drilling in deep waters.

The association believes that permission to drill in 1,376 meters of water in a well that extends 3,805 meters below the sea surface at Gro-field, and was granted as the deepest, three days after the BP disaster should be stopped.

“Although the uncertainty is small, it could result in a huge accident,” said Conservation Association chairman Lars Haltbrekken.

Can be significant

Press spokeswoman Inger Anda at the PSA said that the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico so far has not led to stricter Norwegian rules, but does not exclude that it could happen.

“Ever since the disaster happened, we have used a number of internal resources to determine what might have happened. We do not exclude that it will have consequences for the Norwegian regulations, if it turns out that there is a cause of relevance and equality rights to Norwegian conditions,” she says.

Stricter rules

Chairman Johan Petter Barlindhaug in the North Norwegian oil company North Energy believes that stricter rules are a consequence in Norway of the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

“Of course it is much easier to deal with a water depth of 400 m over a depth of 1,500 meters. One should also remember the dangers of high pressure in the reservoir, as Statoil had problems with the Gullfaks. I think the consequences will be that the regulations will be considerably intensified. While all companies will probably be extra cautious now after this accident,” said Barlindhaug.

Break in confidence

Eleven people were killed in an explosion at the oil rig Deepwater Horizon 20 April, and U.S. authorities estimate that between 75 and 120 million liters of oil have leaked into the Gulf of Mexico after rig sank two days later.

Oil analyst Thina Saltvedt at Nordea Markets believe that the discharge has a kink in confidence to the oil companies as a whole.

With increased demands for measures for environmental and security that will follow after the accident, the costs of producing oil increase, so that new projects require a higher break-even oil prices to be initiated, she points out.

“It makes it more expensive for oil companies to gain access to new areas, such as the Lofoten and Vesterålen and northern regions, says the Financial Times Saltvedt.

Oil Adviser Hans Henrik Ramm believes in turn that the consequences are not so large, and shows that the discharge in the Gulf of Mexico “is only the third non-negligible accidental discharge in peacetime in the last 30 years.”

Source: ABC News

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