Lundin bullish on oil prospects in Ethiopia

Sweden's Lundin Petroleum said on Thursday it was confident that exploration in Ethiopia's Ogaden basin would lead to discoveries of oil as well as natural gas.

“We feel that this basin has not only proven gas potential but also light oil,” James Phillips, Lundin Petroleum’s vice president of exploration for Africa and the Middle East, said at the Africa Upstream 2008 oil conference in Cape Town.

Lundin is among a handful of companies that are exploring for gas and oil in Ethiopia, having been granted permission to explore the region in 2006.

Ethiopia’s Ogaden region, which is inhabited largely by ethnic Somalis, has is been plagued by civil unrest for decades.

The Ogaden National Liberation Front, which has long sought independence for the region, attacked an oil installation operated by a Chinese company in April 2007, killing dozens of people and prompting a harsh crackdown from the Ethiopian government.

Lundin also has operations in several other African nations, including Sudan, Kenya, and Tunisia, where it holds a stake in the Oudna energy development.

Phillips added that the company was keen to expand in Congo Brazzaville and other African markets.


NGOs take Norway to European Court over Arctic oil exploration

Two NGOs and six young climate activists have decided to take Norway to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to demand the cancellation of oil permits in the Arctic, Greenpeace announced on Tuesday.

NGOs take Norway to European Court over Arctic oil exploration
Northern Norway. Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash.

It’s the latest turn in a legal tussle between environmental organisations Greenpeace and Young Friends of the Earth Norway on one side and the Norwegian state on the other.

The organisations are demanding the government cancel 10 oil exploration licenses in the Barents Sea awarded in 2016, arguing it was unconstitutional.

Referring to the Paris Agreement, which seeks to limit global warming to less than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the organisations claim that the oil licenses violated article 112 of Norway’s constitution, guaranteeing everyone the right to a healthy environment.”

The six activists, alongside Greenpeace Nordic and Young Friends of the Earth Norway, hope that the European Court of Human Rights will hear their case and find that Norway’s oil expansion is in breach of human rights,” Greenpeace said in a statement.

In December, Norway’s Supreme Court rejected the claim brought by the organisations, their third successive legal defeat.

READ MORE: Norway sees oil in its future despite IEA’s warnings 

While most of the judges on the court agreed that article 112 could be invoked if the state failed to meet its climate and environmental obligations– they did not think it was applicable in this case.

The court also held that the granting of oil permits was not contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights, in part because they did not represent “a real and immediate risk” to life and physical integrity.

“The young activists and the environmental organisations argue that this judgment was flawed, as it discounted the significance of their environmental constitutional rights and did not take into account an accurate assessment of the consequences of climate change for the coming generations,” Greenpeace said.

On Friday, the Norwegian government unveiled a white paper on the country’s energy future, which still includes oil exploration despite a warning from the International Energy Agency (IEA).

The IEA recently warned that all future fossil fuel projects must be scrapped if the world is to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The Norwegian case is an example of a global trend in which climate activists are increasingly turning to courts to pursue their agenda.