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).
In 1994, the Norwegian government gave permission to Norwegian state enterprises Statoil and Hydro for oil exploration around Lofoten. Ever since then, environmental organisations and fishery organisations have protested against continued proposals to drill for oil in this highly sensitive ecosystem. (2) The Norwegian government have, several times, put the exploration for oil in the area on hold thanks to continuing strong protests. The last time was during 2013 and the hold is for 4 years. In 2017 the topic will once more be brought up to discussion, and the resistance against the exploration continues (1, 3).
UPDATE. By 6 April 2019, Mikael Holter (Bloomberg) reported that a shift in the position of the Labor Part towards greenery and the alarm at climate change had meant that a stinging blow had been dealto to Norway’s oil industry. The Labor Party, the country’s biggest force in Parliament and a long-time backer of the industry, had decided stop pushing for oil exploration offshore the sensitive Lofoten islands. The move made oil production in the area even more unlikely than it already is, and adds uncertainty about how much support the industry can expect from Norwegian politicians in the future. Labor’s shift, announced by party leader Jonas Gahr Store, illustrates an internal rift between a rising climate wing and the country’s biggest worker union, a key backer of the party. The move makes sure there’s a solid majority in parliament to keep Lofoten off limits.