Q: Isn’t the accident in the Gulf of Mexico a good argument against oil exploration in Lofoten and Vesterålen?
A:We believe that safe operations can be carried out in Lofoten and Vesterålen, just like we do on the rest of the Norwegian shelf. The entire industry must learn from the accident in the Gulf of Mexico, but it is too early to say for sure what caused the accident. In the debate here at home, we are more concerned with illustrating the solutions the industry can contribute in the areas off Nordland VI and VII, in order to reduce the risk as much as possible. This could include drilling outside of spawning periods, and drilling thinner wells than usual to limit discharges in the worst possible situation.

Q: Could the accident in the Gulf of Mexico happen in Lofoten and Vesterålen?
A: We still don’t know enough about what caused the accident in the Gulf of Mexico. This was a tragic accident and no one is more interested in avoiding such accidents than the oil industry. We cannot rule out the possibility that accidents could happen in Norway too. What we do know about the conditions in Norway, and what has recently been documented as part of the work on the management plan, is that the risk of a spill in Nordland VI and VII is no greater than on the rest of the shelf.

Q: What consequences would such an oil spill have in Lofoten and Vesterålen?
A: As part of the work on the management plan, the authorities have assessed the environmental risk posed by an oil spill off Lofoten and Vesterålen, which is the area we are discussing here in Norway. This is described thoroughly in the report from Faglig Forum.