The Norwegian Government proposes ten million kroner for environmental studies in connection with the ongoing process to open the sea areas surrounding the island of Jan Mayen for petroleum activities.
-We have initiated an opening process in the sea areas surrounding Jan Mayen. This appropriation is important to move the process further ahead. I am pleased that we can now start mapping the topical areas, says the Minister of Petroleum and Energy Terje Riis-Johansen.
The Norwegian Government has decided to initiate an opening process for petroleum activities in the sea areas within Norwegian jurisdiction surrounding Jan Mayen. The decision was reached in the Norwegian parliament’s reading of White Paper no. 37 (2008-2009) Integrated Management of the Marine Environment of the Norwegian Sea, cf. recommendation to the Storting no. 362 (2008-2009). The opening process consists of two main elements, mapping of the petroleum resource base and environmental values in the area. An environmental study may include oceanic studies, seabed surveys, mapping of seabirds and fauna in the area. The soon to be presented impact assessment program will finalize the scope of further surveys. A draft impact assessment program is planned to be presented for public hearing this autumn. A finalized impact assessment program will be based on comments from the public consultation. Mapping of the petroleum resource base will be carried out by the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate.
-The decision of the Storting in regard to initiation of an opening process in the Jan Mayen area needs to be viewed in relation to the required long-term perspective to develop the remaining petroleum resources on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. Gathering new information is an important part in forming a sound decision basis, says the Minister of Petroleum and Energy.
The Minister of Petroleum and Energy marked the commencement of the opening process for the sea areas surrounding Jan Mayen with a workshop and a field trip to Jan Mayen in autumn 2009. Several workshops with relevant Norwegian ministries and subordinated agencies have since then taken place to ensure suitable planning of the continued work with the opening process.