The North Sea oil spill has made our High North debate horribly topical all of a sudden. So has the news that Statoil’s latest North Sea oil discovery (in Aldous Major South) is the biggest in 20 years. So is the Far North safe in Nordic hands? Do the Norwegians have systems ready to close down leaks more quickly than the British sector and less secretive oil companies – if not can they honestly say Arctic drilling is safe or ethical? Rune Rafaelsen of the Barents Secretariat says “All industrial activities have a risk for accidents. For the people in the North it is a challenge to minimize the risks. But the answer for the people of the High North must be economic development.” Anna Kireeva of Bellona says “Such spills can happen anywhere, and Norway is not an exception -- no oil company in the world can guarantee 100% safety. If such accident occurs in the Arctic, it would be impossible to eliminate its consequences."
Hear more of the debate – and more about the high quality of life in the emerging Barents Region at the Nordic Horizons Festival of Politics event chaired by journalist and broadcaster Lesley Riddoch on August 26th at 13.30 in the Scottish Parliament. There were 31 free tickets remaining on 18.8.11.