Is Norway promoting oil and gas expansion in Costa Rica…

… with a Costa Rican ex-environment minister who could profit more than the country itself? The Environment in Canada Podcast, Episode 5.

Graphic of Norway and Costa Rica with gas and oil rigs surrounding them. Norway Gas Costa RicaRoberto Dobles was former Minister of Environment and Energy between 2006 and 2009 in Costa Rica. Following his time as minister he cut a deal with an American company, Black Hills Energy, for a huge share of oil and gas profits from the company’s proposed oil and gas plans in Costa Rica. After those plans fell through he sued Black Hills for the compensation he said he is owed (more money than Costa Rica itself would have made in royalties had Black Hills’ plans proceeded).

Recently ex-minister Dobles attended a meeting between the current Costa Rican government and the Norwegian government about Norway helping Costa Rica explore for oil and gas in the country.

Dobles and the Main Business Association brought before Costa Rica’s Government data from the very company he is suing to try to convince the authorities and the public there’s a lot of oil and gas in Costa Rica. Under those claims, Costa Rica asked Norway to help in a diplomatic meeting with Dobles’ attendance. Not being a Costa Rica official, the presence of Dobles in that diplomatic meeting is difficult to explain, and the Costa Rican Government’s push and Norway’s participation in the meeting could benefit Dobles’ lawsuit for compensation from Black Hills.

Sound above board?

The question remains why would Norway work with someone like Dobles, and is Norway promoting oil and gas in Costa Rica?

Promoting oil and gas in Costa Rica would be at odds with Norway’s insistence that they are climate champions. At the recent UN climate conference the Norwegian Environment Minister said that ‘the commitment to transition away from fossil fuels in our energy systems is groundbreaking and cannot be misunderstood: not by governments, not by markets, not by anyone.’

We talk with Carolina Sánchez, a climate change communications professional in Costa Rica about what’s happening, how Norway is involved, and what you can do in Canada to help shine a light on this issue.

For context to the above: Sierra Club Canada is part of an international campaign against the plans of the Norwegian state oil and gas company, Equinor, to expand oil and gas production overseas. In Canada Equinor is proposing the Bay du Nord oil project, which if it succeeded could do irreparable damage to local ecosystems.

As part of that international campaign, and this podcast we are looking into the Norwegian government and their majority state-owned oil and gas company Equinor’s actions and climate hypocrisy.

Tune in to the end to hear our Q&A responses to the questions you’ve sent us since our last episode! Send your questions for the next episode to

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