Oil companies have shown a lukewarm interest this year to apply for exploration rights for a record number of Norwegian Arctic oil blocks, official figures showed Tuesday.
Norwegian authorities said only 11 firms including Norwegian firm Statoil, Anglo-Dutch giant Shell and Germany’s Wintershall applied for some of the 102 oil blocks, of which 93 are in the Barents Sea and the rest in the Norwegian Sea.
This was less than half the number in the last round in 2015 when 26 oil groups vied for 57 blocks in western Europe’s biggest oil producer.
Norway’s oil revenues are dwindling, with crude oil production now half what it was in 2001.
NGOs, including environmental group Greenpeace, have brought a case to court and are calling for the concessions granted in 2015 to be cancelled because they violate aims set by the Paris Climate Agreement. The verdict is expected in January.
Greenpeace immediately hailed the tepid interest in the new blocs offered.
Halvard Haga Raavand from Greenpeace tweeted: “When will (Petroleum Minister Terje Soviknes) understand what more and more oil companies are starting to realise — that Arctic petroleum is not profitable if we are to implement the Paris Climate Treaty.”