Green groups take Norwegian government to court in bid to halt oilfield projects

Norway’s Petroleum & Energy Ministry is being taken to court by two environmental groups looking to halt development plans for three of the country’s offshore oilfields.

Greenpeace Nordic and Natur og Ungdom (Young Friends of the Earth Norway) said the government failed to take into account the climate impact of Equinor’s Breidablikk and Aker BP’s Yggdrasil and Tyrving field development plans before granting approval.

The goups also claim the government’s approval of the projects violates the Norwegian constitution and Norway’s international human rights commitments, as well as including the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The legal action builds on a 2020 Norwegian Supreme Court ruling that the state has an obligation to assess the global climate effects of new oil and gas fields before granting approval.

Greenpeace Nordic noted that the climate impact assessments of the three fields are “either non-existent or highly inadequate, rendering the approvals invalid”.

“The Norwegian government is hellbent on opening new oilfields that will produce fossil fuels decades into the future,” Greenpeace’s Norway head Frode Pleym told Upstream.

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“It is blatantly disregarding the climate, the science, and even our own Supreme Court in its effort to please the oil industry.

“We are committed to stopping it by holding the government accountable to its own laws.”

The Norwegian government yesterday approved 19 oil and gas project developments offshore Norway worth total investments of more than Nkr200 billion ($18.5 billion), including Yggdrasil.

Norway’s Petroleum & Energy Ministry and Aker BP had not responded to Upstream’s requests for comment by the time of publishing.

Equinor declined to comment.