Ole Lie, a drilling supervisor who’s worked for Norway’s oil giant Equinor ASA since the 1990s, is feeling unloved as many are starting to turn their backs on an industry that’s made the Nordic country one of the richest on Earth.
“I feel stabbed in the back,” said Lie, 54, who works on the Gullfaks C platform in the North Sea. “Politicians are very fond of re-distributing the money we make, but not of providing the support needed to keep the industry alive.”
Western Europe’s biggest petroleum producer has a complicated relationship with oil amid growing concern over its impact on the global climate. Oil was discovered in the North Sea in the 1960s and has made Norwegians rich, but that fairy tale is now losing sway as a growing number of politicians and environmental groups are calling for a shut down of production with as much half of the estimated resources still in the ground.
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Norwegian voters have fired a warning shot at the country’s oil industry.
Parties that want to rein in the country’s golden goose made significant gains in Monday’s local elections. That raises the prospect of more advances for those forces that want to limit drilling in the Nordic nation, which supplies 25% of the European Union’s natural gas.
Bolstered by record support in the capital, the Green Party made no secret of who it’s targeting in the next general election, due in 2021.
The oil lobby is “shaking in its boots tonight,” Oslo Deputy Mayor Lan Marie Nguyen Berg said in a speech to party members. “The time when it was OK to make money by destroying our future will soon be over.”
Climate change was among the most discussed topics during the campaign, and the results marked gains for the Greens, the Socialist Left and the Red Party. Those three parties, which all favor restrictions on the oil industry to different extents, sit on the opposition benches in the national parliament.