BREAKING NEWS: Swedish oil company Preem withdraws application to expand oil refinery after massive protests
Swedish oil company Preem has today decided to withdraw its application to expand its oil refinery Preemraff in Lysekil, Sweden. The withdrawal is a great victory for the climate, as the expansion would have increased the emissions from the oil refinery with 1 million tonnes per year, making it nearly impossible for Sweden to live up to its climate commitments under the Paris Agreement. It marks a turning point in history, showing that big oil has no future, not in Sweden nor anywhere.
For immediate release 20-09-28
- The world needs to stop burning fossil fuels altogether. In this regard, today’s decision from Preem is historical. It is a victory both the climate, for the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation who appealed against Preem’s application, and for the whole environmental and climate movement in Sweden who have joined forces and protested against the expansion, says Johanna Sandahl, president of the board of Swedish Society for Nature Conservation.
Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC) has worked for a long time to stop the expansion of the oil refinery Preemraff in Lysekil, appealing in 2018 against the ruling to grant a permit and calling on the government to review the case.
The fact that Preem is now withdrawing its application is a proof that investments in fossil fuels have no future, not in Sweden nor internationally. It also proves that dedicated and active engagement from civil society matters. There are many, including the local branch of SSNC in Lysekil, who have protested the planned expansion for years.
The decision also shows that the crumbling market for fossil energy in combination with political decisions to stimulate renewable energy finally will make fossil fuel companies either retreat or be forced into transitioning their business.
- We welcome that Preem will now instead focus on producing renewable fuels. All investments must be in line with the Paris Agreement, says Johanna Sandahl.
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Fact box: this has happened
Preem was initially granted permission to expand its oil refinery Preemraff in Lysekil from the Land and Environment court. The increase of emissions that would follow from the expansion – 1 million tonnes per year for infinity – would make Preemraff the single biggest emitter in Sweden. In 2018, SSNC therefore appealed to the Land and Environment court of Appeal against the ruling to grant a permit. SSNC also sought to make the government try the case, and in August 2019 it was announced that it would do so. The main proceedings were held in the spring of 2020, and in June 2020 the government received the court’s opinion on the matter. The court ruled that the expansion could be granted. After that it was up to the government to decide on whether the refinery should be allowed to expand or not. Protest from the environmental and climate movement have since been massive. Preem felt the pressure from society and today decided to withdraw its application before the government made its decision.