Norway to halve Lofoten oil/gas resource view (NRK)

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OSLO, April 16 (Reuters) – The Norwegian government has slashed the resource estimate for the Lofoten and Vesteraalen region to some 1.2 billion barrels of oil equivalent, nearly half of their estimate a year ago, broadcaster NRK said on Friday.

Energy

The government is due to hold a news conference on the expected oil and gas deposits to be found in the Lofoten region in the Arctic later on Friday.

The pristine archipelago remains closed to oil activities but Norway’s powerful oil industry, led by national champion Statoil (STL.OL), has said it needs access to the region to continue the North Sea state’s oil boom.

Environmentalists argue that keeping the Lofotens free from drilling is the only way to avoid accidents that may irreparably damage its eco-system, rich fishing waters and image as one of Europe’s last tourist destinations unspoiled by modern industry.

Norway is the world’s No. 5 oil exporter and No. 3 in natural gas, but its oil output peaked in 2001 and has been declining faster than expected as North Sea fields mature. (Reporting by Wojciech Moskwa and Camilla Bergsli; Editing by Kim Coghill)

Original article here

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