The Norwegian parliament has voted to withdraw support for explorative drilling off the Lofoten archipelago, which lies within the Arctic Circle.
The move against offshore oil exploration within the scientifically sensitive Arctic marine environment follows growing opposition within the country towards fossil fuels, which have, up to now, made Norway one of the world’s most affluent countries.
It currently pumps out around 1.6 million barrels of oil a day from its offshore operations.
Norway’s largest oil producer – the state-controlled company Equinor ASA – has argued that the Lofoten oilfield – which contains up to three billion barrels of oil – would be essential for maintaining current production levels.
“The industry is surprised and disappointed,” say Karl Eirik Schjott-Pedersen, head of the Norwegian Oil and Gas Association. “It does not provide the predictability we depend on.”
The move comes days after Norway’s government gave the go-ahead for its $1trillion (£760bn) oil fund – the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund – to invest in renewable energy projects.
Last month Norway’s oil fund said it would no longer invest in 134 companies that explore for oil and gas – but would retain stakes in large oil firms which have renewable energy divisions, including BP and Shell.