Iurii Bezuglov May 12, 2015, 2:47 p.m.

Greenpeace: Norway treats irresponsibly her obligations for preservation of the Arctic nature


Norway declared that by February, 2016 she would have allocated three license blocks for hydrocarbons development in the north-east part of the Barents Sea - on Spitsbergen shelf. Greenpeace organization considers that Norway provokes a political conflict and irresponsibly treats her obligations for preservation of the nature in the Arctic.

“Issue of oil licenses on this site is a provocation concerning all countries which signed the Spitsbergen Treaty that fixes special international status of the territory. Moreover, this is a gross violation of ecological recommendations of the Norwegian Polar Institute which claims that the sites are located in the freezing waters where it is impossible to eliminate oil spills consequences,” explains Truls Gulowsen, head of Greenpeace Norway, “The water area lies within archipelago fish conservation zone. Ices of Spitsbergen are of utmost importance for preservation of fish resources and wildlife of the region, this is not a place for oil drilling.”

Norway does not recognize Spitsbergen archipelago to have its own shelf regarding it as an extension of the shelf of the country and considers herself rightful to dispose of its resources without any coordination with other countries. In early March the Russian diplomatic mission sent a note to the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in this regard.

The Spitsbergen Treaty, signed in 1920, secured the sovereignty of Norway over the archipelago but still all parties to the treaty (more than 40 states) have equal rights to use its resources.

It is worth mentioning that at various times oil leakages occurred on the Norwegian platforms of Statfjord field in the North sea.

An oil spill took place on December, 12 2007 from the Statfjord A loading system, due to a broken hose between the loading buoy and shuttle tanker Navion Britannia. Up to 25,000 barrels (4,000 m³) of crude oil were spilled during the operation, which was considered to be the second-worst oil spill in Norway.

Another oil spillage happened on the Statfjord A platform on May, 24 2008, due to leakage of oil from one of the shafts. Roughly 7,500 barrels (1200 m³) of oily waters were discharged into the sea for safety reasons.

On December 28, 2013 minor oil and gas leak was detected on Statfjord A.

Oil spill of nearly 32 m³ on Statfjord C was further reported on January 26, 2014.