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Strategic Environmental Assessment in Norway's Offshore Oil and Gas


Strategic environmental assessment (SEA) is used as a policy tool in the management of offshore oil and gas. As offshore oil and gas exploration continues to advance further into Arctic regions, questions of how SEA fits into petroleum policy frameworks, its process, and its effectiveness arise. This thesis adopts a historical institutionalist approach to explain SEA in Norway’s offshore oil and gas sector, discussing lessons to be learned from the Norwegian case, as well as the applicability of SEA in similar Arctic governance regimes. The thesis identifies three main lessons: First, Norway’s management of Arctic offshore hydrocarbon resources is a reflection of its distinct path of political development, particularly its emphasis on reaching consensus on sensitive political issues. Second, from the onset, Norway had the economic and political means to develop the institutional capacity and international experience required to manage an international offshore oil and gas operation. Third, the combination of these factors allowed Norway to adopt an incremental approach towards the advancement of its petroleum development, enabling decision-makers to adopt the principles of strategic environmental assessment into the policies that govern Norway’s offshore resources.



strategic environmental assessment, Norway, offshore oil and gas.



Master of Arts (M.A.)


Political Studies


Political Science




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