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HomeTopicsEnvironment and WildlifeChaves Suggests "Lobbying" Behind Norway's Refusal to Help

Chaves Suggests “Lobbying” Behind Norway’s Refusal to Help

President Rodrigo Chaves insinuated that Norway was influenced by “lobbying” in rejecting Costa Rica’s request for cooperation to calculate the value of alleged natural gas and oil reserves in the country and move towards these non-existent extractive industries. During the press conference, a Costa Rican media outlet asked him about the Norwegian government’s refusal to help the country explore for oil and gas.

“Norway didn’t say no,” the President clarified. However, the Norwegian government clearly turned down the proposal according to a letter delivered by Ambassador Ragnhild Imerslund.

The Norwegian authorities argued that they do not have the resources for tasks such as the one requested by Costa Rica and that some time ago they closed their international oil cooperation program, while moving forward on a path of transition towards renewable energies and economic diversification in accordance with global trends.

However, President Chaves believes that the reasons are different from those voiced by the Norwegian delegation. “I have no proof but I have no doubt that there was lobbying against the proposal,” the President argued. The President assured that the Norwegian response does not block the objective and there are already contacts with other governments.

“We are still not giving up. We have talked informally with other governments and we are looking for routes. We don’t want to open holes in the ground, we want to evaluate how much (oil or gas) is there,” Chaves added.

The Minister of the Environment said that Norway’s rejection position affected the government’s plans. However, President Chaves doesn’t necessarily see it that way. “What if (the reserves) are worth 1.5 billion dollars? They say that tourism contributes 8% of GDP, but what argument would you give if natural gas was 200% of GDP per year? I do not know. Talking based on ideology does not make sense. One has to be based on data, numbers, costs, and benefits,” the President of Costa Rica argued.

Manuel Morales, a congressman of the same party as the President, presented a bill to prohibit the exploration and exploitation of natural gas and oil, as has been established by decree by the last five governments.

Several deputies and political parties have expressed their opposition to any proposal involving oil and gas exploration, citing concerns about the potential destruction of natural resources.

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