OSLO, Sept 13 Norway's incoming ruling parties
plan to keep the Arctic Lofoten islands closed to the oil
industry in hopes of winning over two smaller parties for their
ruling coalition, daily newspaper Aftenposten said on Friday,
citing sources close to the parties' leadership.
The Conservatives and Progress, who won elections on Monday,
still need one of two centrist parties for a majority in
parliament and their plan to open Lofoten to drilling has been
among the biggest hurdles to a deal.
The Liberals and Christian Democrats, who are expected to
enter coalition talks with the two bigger parties next week,
have both said they will fight to keep the oil industry out of
Lofoten to protect its pristine environment, its tourism and the
world's largest cod stock.
Norway's oil industry has lobbied for a chance to drill
there in the search for new oil reserves as production further
south declines, with national output expected to fall to a
25-year low this year.
Waters off Lofoten are estimated to hold 8 percent of
Norway's undiscovered oil and gas resources with seismic tests
identifying 50 prospects that could hold recoverable reserves of
around 1.27 billion barrels of oil equivalent.
(Reporting by Balazs Koranyi and Joachim Dagenborg; Editing by