Lawsuit aims to stop Norwegian E&P activity

Environmental groups were expected to launch a legal action this week asking a Norwegian court to block the development of three North Sea oil and gas fields.

The lawsuit, filed by Greenpeace and its partner Nature and Youth concerns the Equinor-operated Breidablikk and Aker BP’s Yggdrasil and Tyrving fields, which hold combined reserves of some 875 million barrels of oil equivalent.

In 2020 the two NGOs lost a case against Arctic drilling at Norway’s top court, which concluded that parliament and the government had broad authority to award new oil acreage.

However, in the ruling the Supreme Court also noted that the government should consider the impact from total emissions when new fields are developed, including when oil and gas is eventually burned.

In the new lawsuit, the NGOs argue that the energy ministry failed to account for future emissions when approving the three projects and said the Oslo District Court should thus declare the approvals invalid and issue preliminary injunctions.

The state rejected this view, however, arguing that the ministry’s decisions were valid as laws and regulations did not require Norway to assess the consequences of emissions from petroleum exports abroad.

“The impact assessments are in line with current regulations,” Goeran Oesterman Thengs, an attorney representing the government, said in a submission to the court.

Breidablikk started production in October, four months earlier than previously expected, while Tyrving and Yggdrasil are scheduled to come on stream in 2024 and 2027, respectively.