Research Group for Climate, Energy and Environmental Law

Introduction of Mari Bygstad

Mari is the new research assistant for the research group.

Portrett Mari Bygstad

Main content

My name is Mari, and I am a new research assistant for the research group Natural Resources Law, Environmental Law and Development Law. Currently I am doing a research-based master's thesis on mortgages and extraction licencing regulated by the Seabed Minerals Act. I have a little girl who is 4 years old, so a lot of my free time is spent with my family. Otherwise, I love walking in the mountains, so I try to do that whenever possible.

Given my 11 years of work experience from the maritime industry, I have a particular interest in the sea, and legal issues related to maritime law, natural resource law, energy and the environment. The energy transition and urgent development towards a greener economy leads to an increased need for research and expertise, particularly within marine resources and renewable energy. This is something I want to continue working on, and I am looking forward to learning more about the research group's work.

The topic of my master's thesis is related to the Paris agreement requirements, and actions required to reduce the global warming. The global society is facing a man-made climate crisis, where the global temperature has become about one degree warmer since pre-industrial times. This leads to serious consequences such as an increased risk of extreme weather, rainfall, floods and pollution of the sea. 

The need for a rapid reduction in emissions of greenhouse gases is crucial, and development of new technology is essential in the transition to a low-emission society. Electrification of the society leads in turn to an increased need for marine minerals, because certain minerals are crucial in the production of green technology such as wind turbines, batteries, solar panels, and electric cars. An accelerated transition to renewable energy will consequently lead to increased demand for critical minerals, in which therefore plays a key role in the green shift.

About 71% of the earth's surface is covered by sea, and on the seabed, there are minerals of economic interest. On the Norwegian continental shelf, mineral deposits where first discovered decades ago. However, it has not until recent years been a priority to allocate resources in order to map the resource potential. Among the minerals that have been detected are zinc, copper, manganese, iron, cobalt and rare earths. These are minerals required to produce electric cars, giving batteries greater performance, and for powerful magnets used in wind turbines.

As a result of the increased interest in deep-sea minerals, the Seabed Minerals Act entered into force on 1 July 2019, and the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy has now sent the impact assessment for public hearing. On this basis, Stortinget will then decide during spring 2023 whether to open up for deep-sea mineral activities on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.  Any development on the Norwegian continental shelf will be capital-intensive, and the private business sector will require financing. My master thesis will therefore focus on how mortgage is regulated under the Seabed Mineral Act, and whether it facilitates the investments required to enable a commercialisation of the deep-sea mining industry.