Norway: Disaster Risk in the Arctic

As an oil company tries to drill in international Arctic waters, advocates race to block them.

In 2017, Ian Urbina traveled on a Greenpeace ship called the Arctic Sunrise to the Barents Sea where Statoil, the partly state-run Norwegian oil company, had parked a drilling rig called the Songa Enabler. The project near Norway represented a new level of risk-taking by the oil industry. No company had ever tried to drill this far north into the Arctic. Statoil’s well was even more controversial because it was located in international waters, over 258 miles north of mainland Norway. The law related to activities in international waters was murkier than what applied in national waters. This complexity afforded Statoil greater latitude to drill and for Greenpeace to protest.