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Oil drilling stopped, Lofoten islands, Norway

For many years there was a debate on whether to get oil from the biodiversity-rich Lofoten islands. By 2019 the question is settled, not least because of climate change.. A blow to Norway's oil industry.


Lofoten is an archipelago in northwestern Norway. It is a highly biodiverse area that holds cold-water reefs, pods of sperm whales and killer whales. It has some of the largest colonies of seabirds in Europe and it is the spawning grounds of the largest remaining cod stock in the world (1). It is also on the tentative list of Unesco (4).

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Oil drilling stopped, Lofoten islands, Norway
Location of conflict:Vestvågøy
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Oil and gas exploration and extraction
Specific commodities:Crude oil
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The oil around Lofoten has been estimated to be worth approximately 15,3 billion dollars (4).

Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:1994
Company names or state enterprises:Statoil from Norway - state-owned company
Norsk Hydro from Norway
Relevant government actors:Norweigian ministry of Environment, Norweigian ministry of Petroleum and Energy
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Natur og Ungdom (Nature and Youth, the Friends of the Earth youth organization of Norway),, Greenpeace,, Folkeaksjonen,, Youth Arctic Coalition,, Fältbiologerna,
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:International ejos
Local ejos
Recreational users
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Oil spills
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood
Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Moratoria
Project temporarily suspended
Development of alternatives:No oil drilling in Lofoten (or the Arctic)
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:The Norwegian government has put explorations of potential oil extraction in the Lofoten area on hold for the coming 4 years. In 2017 the decision will be discussed further. It is was early then to say that Lofoten is long-term protected against oil exploration. However bt 2019 it seems that the issues has been settled: no oil from Lofoten.
Sources & Materials

(2) Kampen – Kort historisk tilbakeblikk,
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(3) A victory in Norway!
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(4) Kampen om Lofoten, Fokus, 2009/07,
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Oljeborrningen måste få ett slut, Sveriges Television,
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Splittrad syn på olja från Lofoten, SvD Näringsliv,
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Vi Jublar! Ingen oljeborrning i Lofoten!, Fältbiologerna,
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(1) Norway: Oil drilling put on hold
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Norway’s new Government drops Lofoten oil, Barents Observer,
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Forvaltningsplanen for Barentshavet – Lofoten,
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Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Nick Clark, Al Jazeera,13 May 2019.Saving Lofoten Islands: Norway's turn towards biodiversity

[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Linda Dubec
Last update31/01/2020
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