Norway, Europe’s largest oil-producing nation, intends to profoundly increase Arctic oil exploration by offering up 125 new oil exploration permits in the Arctic Barents Sea, according to Reuters

Norway’s 25th licensing round will offer up the opportunity to explore in eight previously unexplored regions in the Arctic Barents Sea. There will be a range of permits available.

Speaking about the new permits, Tine Bru, Norway’s Minister of Petroleum and Energy, said, “Regular access to new exploration areas is crucial to maintaining activity on the Norwegian continental shelf,” adding “We need new discoveries to maintain employment and value creation going forward. I have good faith that the opportunities we now offer in the Barents Sea and the Norwegian Sea will be attractive to companies.” 

However, this decision is not without its controversies and Norwegian environmentalists have labelled it “insanely irresponsible”.