OIL & GAS | Norway bans new drilling

Norway has banned any new deepwater drilling until a full inquiry is conducted into the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster.

“We are moving ahead with the 21 licensing round. We will have the accident in the Golf of Mexico in mind going forward,” said Norway’s energy minister Terje Riis-Johansen.

“There will be no drilling in any licenses on deep waters coming out of the 21st round before we have sufficient knowledge of this accident, including possible implications for our regulation.”

“In addition to that, before awarding licenses in the 21st round, I will ensure I have deeper knowledge about the accident.”

“The precautionary principle combined with a predictable framework, have to be the foundation for our petroleum politics,” Riis-Johansen said.

Reports say this is the first such decision outside the US, which has placed a six month ban on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

On Tuesday the UK’s department of energy announced it would increase its inspection of drilling rigs and monitoring of offshore compliance.

Energy Secretary Chris Huhne has also asked a new oil industry group to report back on its findings on the UK’s ability to prevent and respond to oil spills.

“I’ve had an urgent review undertaken to reassure myself and the public that all appropriate measures are in place around our shores,” Huhne said.

On Tuesday trading in global energy stocks were mixed despite the fallout from the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Goldman Sachs downgraded the oil services sector Tuesday from attractive to neutral suggesting deepwater drillers are in for a tough time.

The US investment bank says the current six-month drilling memorandum could stretch to 12 months.

On Monday US-listed offshore contractor Oceaneering International cut its full-year earnings forecasts by up to 14% due to the spill.

It said demand for ROV and other equipment used in offshore drilling has tumbled since new drilling restrictions in the US were announced.



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