Two research students from the Norwegian University of Life Science in Oslo Norway are in Belize gathering information for a project called “Contested Powers” that focuses on conflicts relating to oil and energy in Latin American countries. It’s a large research project undertaken by several learning institutions in various parts of Europe and Latin America. The two students in Belize are Espen Nolan Knutsen and Carl Knutsen, and they are part of a large amount of researchers scattered around the region on the same mission.

According to the students the information gathered will be used for their thesis and later this year, will become a book. “The research [we are conducting] will be part of a larger research group that is looking at oil and energy related conflicts in Latin American called ‘Contested Powers,’” explained the two young researchers to The San Pedro Sun following an interview with the newspaper’s editor – Tamara Sniffin.

Norwegian-Students-Research-Oil-in-BelizeAccording to Espen Knutsen, their research has taken them to various parts of Belize. “We are researching oil exploration and production in Belize and we are looking into conflicts and issues that have arisen because of oil concession giving. We are also looking at exploration issues; for example, we have seen the conflict as it relates to oil in the Maya community. We are also looking at production in the Mennonite community in Spanish Lookout. We are also looking at the issue from a tourism perspective where people here [San Pedro Town] are not into drilling and exploration efforts offshore because of the consequences it can have on the reef. So we are looking at all the oil related conflicts in Belize.”

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