Environmental impact assessment

The Government has initiated a process to open up for mineral activities on the Norwegian continental shelf. The Ministry of Energy, which has administrative responsibility for seabed minerals, will lead the work on the opening process.

The Norwegian Offsore Directorate assists the Ministry in carrying out the Environmental impact assessment and coordinates the scientific study efforts.

The Act relating to mineral activities on the continental shelf – the Seabed Minerals Act – stipulates the requirements for an opening process, including Environmental impact assessment.


The first step of the Environmental impact assessment process is to prepare a programme for the Environmental impact assessment. The final programme was stipulated by the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy on 10th September 2021 (Norwegian only). This programme describes the formal and academic basis for the Environmental impact assessment.

The Environmental impact assessment aims to shed light on the potential impacts an opening may have on the environment and presumed commercial, economic and social factors.

The questions to be studied are whether and how it is possible to carry out responsible mineral activities and simultaneously protect the ocean environment and other users of the sea.


Basic studies associated with the opening process for mineral activities on the Norwegian continental shelf:

  1. Fisheries (pdf) (Norwegian only)
  2. Future possibilities (pdf) (Norwegian only)
  3. Deep sea landscape features (pdf) (Norwegian only)
  4. Pelagic ecosystems (pdf) (Norwegian only)
  5. Seabirds (pdf) (Norwegian only)
  6. Shipping (pdf) (Norwegian only)
  7. Technology (pdf) (Norwegian only)
  8. Natural conditions (pdf) (Norwegian only)
  9. Economic and social impacts (pdf) (Norwegian only)


Map showing the area covered by the opening process.

This map shows the area covered by the opening process. The area covers 592 500 km2. Map: Norwegian Offshore Directorate.


Updated: 05/04/2024

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