Denmark is Ending New Exploration in the North Sea

It’s the beginning of a new era.


(vitstudio /

Denmark is the largest producer of oil and gas in the European Union, which does not include Norway and the UK, two countries  that are larger producers. In 2016,Denmark produced 145,674 barrels of oil per day according to Worldometer. That’s why the Danish government’s decision in December, 2020 to end all oil and gas exploration in the North Sea is such a big deal.

The decision by the Folketinget – Danish parliament – also cancelled the latest round of new licensing agreements and all future tenders according to Reuters. And the country will stop extracting fossil fuels from the 55 existing oil and gas platforms in the sea at the end of 2050.

The future of these offshore oil and gas rigs was uncertain after the Scandinavian country agreed to a very ambitious climate target in 2019, to reduce greenhouse emissions by 70 percent in 2030 and to being completely climate neutral 20 years later.

We’re the European Union’s biggest oil producer and this decision will therefore resonate around the world,” Denmark’s climate minister, Dan Jørgensen, told The Guardian, “We are now putting a final end to the fossil era.”

The Danish government estimated that this new policy will amount to DKr 13 billion ($2.147 billion) in lost revenue according to The Guardian. It is the oil and gas industries in the North Sea that made Denmark one of the richest countries as well as one of the happiest. But, for last 10 years, the country has focused on clean energy including offshore wind farms.

Denmark is not the first country to end oil and gas exploration, that title goes to France, but it is the first major fossil fuel producing one and this decision is being applauded by environmental groups.

Helene Hagel from Greenpeace Denmark called the vote, “a watershed moment” that will allow the country to “assert itself as a green frontrunner and inspire other countries to end our dependence on climate-wrecking fossil fuels.

“This is a huge victory for the climate movement and all the people who have pushed for many years to make it happen,” she said

“This is what climate leadership looks like,” Mel Evans, a climate campaigner for Greenpeace UK, said.  “All eyes will be on the UK next year as we host crucial climate talks, so our prime minister should take note. If Johnson wants to keep up and build global momentum for the clean energy transition, he must cancel the next round of oil and gas licensing, end all future exploration and ditch the legal requirement to extract as much as possible from the North Sea basin.”

While it is unknown if the UK will follow suit, Denmark’s landmark decision is still a huge victory in the fight against climate change and will go a long way to meeting the 2015 Paris Agreement to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius. Hopefully more counties will follow.

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