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The UncAP project: Uncertainty Assessments related to opening new Areas for Petroleum activity

This project focuses on uncertainties around petroleum activities, and on the question of whether they should be allowed in the valuable and vulnerable area of Lofoten, in northern Norway.

The UncAP project was funded by the Norwegian Research Council under the research programme HAVKYST (The Oceans and Coastal Areas), from June 2011 to June 2013.

UncAP is an interdisciplinary project, which involves marine scientists from the Institute of Marine Research (IMR) in Bergen, and researchers from the Centre for the Study of the Sciences and the Humanities (SVT) in Bergen.

It focuses on uncertainties around petroleum activities, and on the question of whether they should be allowed in the valuable and vulnerable area of Lofoten, in northern Norway. To this aim, the project is articulated around two phases:

1)   Assessing and discussing key uncertainties surrounding both everyday petroleum operations and accidents: Scientists from the IMR and researchers from the SVT have together elicited and discussed key uncertainties around routine petroleum operations and accidental oil spills. Some uncertainties were labelled ‘epistemological’, meaning that they are, for the time being, not reducible and not quantifiable. They thus challenge our way to take decisions regarding the opening of Lofoten to petroleum activities. This phase is now about to be finished, and will result in two peer-reviewed articles (links to come).

2)     Opening the discussion to a broad range of actors: Because of these key uncertainties in our knowledge, the project argues that political decisions should not be based on science alone, but should also include the perspectives, interests and knowledge of other actors, from fishermen to the tourism industry, the petroleum sector and citizens living in Lofoten. The second phase of UncAP aims to involve those actors, through ‘scenario workshops’ to be held in June in Lofoten.

Contact person:
Anne Blanchard
anne.blanchard@svt.uib.no -
+47 55 58 21 47