Opening up more northern areas for the oil industry could create between 13,000 and 37,000 jobs, and from NOK 26-55 billions in added value.
Opening up for oil drilling in places further north in Norway could lead to somewhere between 440 and 1,100 new jobs on average each year, according to a report by Menon Business Economics.
However, it became clear on Friday that the Minister of Oil and Energy, Ola Borten Moe, wants to leave certain areas untouched for now, including Lofoten and Vesterålen.
The ministry surprised his audience on Friday, when he said that he wanted to give the area more time, and that opening up for drilling at this time may harm the fisheries industry. He was met with strong reactions form local fishermen when he traveled up to the area this week, which has affected his decision, Borten Moe explains.
Meanwhile, he is still open toward opening up the Barents Sea for drilling, another controversial area.
The estimated average increase in regional value in the case of an expansion for all areas up north, could have been between NOK 800 million and NOK 1,6 billion, depending on whether it is based on a low or high level of employment.
"It's important to highlight that these are estimates, Borten Moe told NRK before yesterday's meeting. "However, what we know from other areas in Norway is that activities at sea have a significant ripple effect on the mainland," Borten Moe explains.
"An increase in activity on this level will be reflected in all areas of society. Everything from primary activities to travel and the service industry. It's a big boost for growth in the regional and the local community," Borten Moe tells NRK.