Oil drilling, Lofoten, Norway

For many years there was a debate on whether to get oil from the biodiversity-rich Lofoten islands. By 2019 it seems that the question has been settled, not least because climate change. No oil will be extracted.


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
NameOil drilling, Lofoten, Norway
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 CommoditiesCrude oil
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe oil around Lofoten has been estimated to be worth approximately 15,3 billion dollars (4).
Type of PopulationRural
Start Date1994
Company Names or State EnterprisesStatoil from Norway - state-owned company
Norsk Hydro from Norway
Relevant government actorsNorweigian ministry of Environment, Norweigian ministry of Petroleum and Energy
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersNatur og Ungdom (Nature and Youth, the Friends of the Earth youth organization of Norway), http://nu.no/, Greenpeace, www.greenpeace.org, Folkeaksjonen, http://folkeaksjonen.no/, Youth Arctic Coalition, http://youtharcticcoalition.org/, Fältbiologerna, www.faltbiologerna.se
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingInternational ejos
Local ejos
Fisher people
Forms of MobilizationCreation 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-economic ImpactsPotential: Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood
Project StatusStopped
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseMoratoria
Project temporarily suspended
Development of AlternativesNo oil drilling in Lofoten (or the Arctic)
Do you consider this as a success?Yes
Why? Explain briefly.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 and Materials

(1) Norway: Oil drilling put on hold
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(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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Norway’s new Government drops Lofoten oil, Barents Observer,
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Forvaltningsplanen for Barentshavet – Lofoten,
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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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Media Links

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

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Other Documents

Protest action Source: https://www.svt.se/nyheter/utrikes/protester-mot-oljeutvinning
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Meta Information
ContributorLinda Dubec
Last update20/06/2019