Jens Stoltenberg has plugged Ola Borten Moe’s claims Norway will be drilling for oil at the North Pole.
“Government policy remains unchanged. This is communicated in the petroleum whitepaper and management plan for the Barents Sea-Lofoten, and which doesn't open for oil drilling at the North Pole,” VG reports him as saying.
His move comes following the Minister of Petroleum and Energy’s statement at ONS 2013 in Stavanger, Wednesday, that, “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.”
“Some seem to argue that we must choose between Economic Activity or the Environment in this part of the world. The first exploration well in the Arctic was drilled almost one hundred years ago. Oil and gas activities in areas with harsh environments are not a new phenomenon,” Ola Borten Moe declared in his speech.
“Our oil and gas sector was developed in cooperation with international companies with broad experience. This partnership now stretches into new positive developments in the High North,” he said, rebuffing environmentalists’ concerns about the possibility of an oil spill there.
He also said the first step on the journey northwards was to increase drilling, citing the opening of the Barents Sea's southeastern area on Norway's side of the border with Russia.
As part of the strategy for long-term oil and gas production, the Minister said the plan is to "finalise the opening processes in the Barents Sea and around Jan Mayen. My plan is to submit to Parliament a proposal on opening of these areas for petroleum activities in the spring of 2013."
Minister Borten Moe’s remarks caused Norway’s Bellona Foundation to sever ties with the government, however. Leader Frederic Hauge branded the minister “an oil extremist."
“We cannot sit and accept the socialistic party being an alibi for this government. We don’t need them. They have failed completely,” he told Stavanger Aftenblad.
Commenting on Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg’s intervention, Mr Hauge says to The Foreigner today, “We’re very glad the PM had some ice cubes in his head. You can’t push the limits by joking about this sort of thing.”
“We’re also very happy the PM has settled this matter, he handled it very well,” he concludes.
The Ministry of Oil and Energy had no further comment to make about the matter when asked by The Foreigner.
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