Oil fields in Norway

Norwegian government has an immoral and unscientific oil policy

Norway is perfectly positioned to lead the charge in phasing out fossil fuels. It is one of the richest countries in the world, with a highly educated population, huge capital and enormous potential for renewable energy production. In fact it is the best equipped country to transition away from being a fossil fuel economy, according to the UN Environment Programme. Sadly the capital and workforce that should be used to aid the green transition is instead held up by the fossil fuel industry. Research even suggests that the efforts that have been taken by Norwegian renewable industries are thwarted by the high investment in new oil and gas fields. Norway must therefore cease production of new oil and gas fields, and immediately stop the exploration for new oil and gas. 

Equinor responsible for 70% of oil and gas production in Norway 

The Norwegian government and Equinor are undeniably linked, as 67% of the company shares are owned by the Norwegian state. Moreover, the production of oil and gas is the largest source of emissions within Norway, accounting for around a quarter of the country’s domestic greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, Norway exports 500 million tons of CO2 from oil and gas production. According to the UN Development Programme, Norway was the world’s largest per capita exporter of CO2 emissions in 2021. Equinor is a consistent driving force behind the emission export, and the company is on the unflattering list as one of the highest emitting companies in the world.

The Wisting oil field and future oil production will harm biodiversity in the Arctic 

Equinor is the operator in one of the world’s northernmost exploration licences, and the company aims to develop the Wisting oil field. It is currently delayed, after much opposition from climate organisations and activists, but could still be developed in the future. Wisting would be the northernmost oil field in the world, located in the Barents Sea, in the Arctic. It is also situated inside the invaluable “marginal ice zone”, a hotspot for biodiversity, containing more than 4000 species. Equinor is still showing interest in Arctic oil drilling, despite the potential disastrous consequences for all life in the Arctic. Large-scale oil spills threaten marine biodiversity, not to mention the underlying fact that oil drilling will always be a source of continuous pollution to the sea and air. 

More than 99% of Equinor’s energy production in 2023 were in fossil fuels 

The Norwegian state-owned oil company claims to be at the forefront of the renewable energy transition. Yet, Equinor continues to expand its fossil fuel initiatives at a rapid speed. In 2023, more than 99% of the energy Equinor produced were from fossil fuels. In 2023, 80% of all their investments went to fossil fuels and as low as 17.6% went to investments in clean renewables, when using the EU’s taxonomy for sustainable investments to exclude technologies such as CCS, blue hydrogen and electrification of platforms, which Equinor refers to these as “low-carbon solutions”. 

Local opposition to Equinor and Norway’s severely damaged reputation: what now?  

Equinor’s continued search for new oil and gas is damaging to Norway’s international climate reputation and undermines Norway’s global climate commitments. Their pursuit for more fossil fuels contradicts the Norwegian government’s expectations of state-owned companies to be Paris-aligned as set out in the white-paper on state-ownership.