Silje Lundberg, Senior Campaigner, (Based in Oslo — CET)

Oil Change International response to Norway’s postponement of new licensing round

The Norwegian Government just postponed one of the country’s two oil and gas licensing rounds for the next three years. The decision was part of Norway’s minority government’s budget deal with the opposition Socialist Left Party (SV).

There are two kinds of licensing rounds on the Norwegian continental shelf, the numbered licensing rounds, that include frontier parts of the Norwegian continental shelf, and the Awards in predefined Areas (APA), that are supposed to comprise the mature parts of the shelf, with known geology and good infrastructure. It’s the numbered licensing rounds that are now postponed until the end of this Parliamentary period (September 2025).

At the same time, the most problematic licensing round still remains, the so-called APA-round. This licensing round has locked in a rapid acceleration of new exploration over the past decade, and in today’s press-conference, Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said that the Government would continue to award new licenses through the APA.

Previous analysis provided by OCI has shown that during the last 10 years, the Norwegian government awarded as many exploration licenses — 700 — as in the 47 years prior.  From 2012 to 2021, new licenses issued by Norway opened up 2.8 billion barrels of new oil and gas resources for potential extraction.

Silje Lundberg, Senior Campaigner at Oil Change International, said:

“Finally the Norwegian Government is forced to make changes to the country’s oil and gas exploration policies. This is long overdue. We know that this decision wouldn’t have happened without SV taking such a firm negotiation stance against new licensing, and forcing the Labour Government to postpone the numbered licensing round.

Every new exploration well and every new oil field that Norway allows undermines a well-planned transition and is a step closer to climate chaos. Today’s decision marks an important win for the environmental movement in Norway – but the big fight against new oil and gas development continues.”