The Scandinavian country’s governing centre-left coalition supports continuing oil and gas activities but does not have a parliamentary majority, making it reliant on socialist MPs who prioritise green issues.
As part of a compromise on the draft 2022 budget, three parties agreed on Monday that Norway — Western Europe’s largest hydrocarbon producer — would not hold a 26th so-called “ordinary” concession round next year.
This mechanism has allowed oil companies to apply for exploration in previously unexplored areas of the Norwegian continental shelf since 1965.
But the deal does not rule out awarding oil licences in already heavily exploited areas.
Since the North Sea has been extensively explored, the agreement mainly concerns the Barents Sea in the Arctic
The oil industry was a major issue in legislative elections in September, indicating Norway’s growing difficulties in reconciling environmental concerns with exploiting energy resources.
In the 25th concession round in early 2021, only seven oil companies, including Equinor, Shell and Lundin, applied — the lowest number since at least 1978 according to local media.