Wind mills at sea.
29 November 2022

SGU requests modernization of the Continental Shelf Act

Today, on the 29 November 2022, SGU has made a formal request to the government regarding the need to modernize the Swedish Continental Shelf Act. The reason is that the Act fails to take today´s circumstances into account. This poses a risk to the implementation of the green transformation.

The Swedish Continental Shelf Act was implemented in 1966. The Act mainly regulates the right of the Swedish state to the continental shelf, i.e. the seabed and its underlying base within public water areas and within the Swedish Economic Zone, regarding the exploration and utilization of natural resources.

In recent years the Continental Shelf Act has come into the foreground, mainly because of investigations required for the design and construction of wind farms at sea, but also for other types of investigation and utilization of the seabed. In the future the legislation will also pertain to the implementation of carbon capture and storage, CCS.

At the same time SGU, in our role as a licensing and supervisory authority in terms of the Swedish Continental Shelf Act, has gained insight into the shortcomings of the legislation with respect to modern requirements. That is why SGU has asked the government to review the legislation.

– The changes which have taken place since the Act was introduced almost 60 years ago have led to legislation which is generally impenetrable, unpredictable, and sometimes even contradictory. The shortcomings of the Act are causing practical problems and also risk deterring companies and other actors from embarking on projects that would be beneficial to society, says SGU Director General, Anneli Wirtén.

Shortcomings noted by SGU include uncertainties regarding which provisions under the Act can be applied by SGU as a supervisory and licensing authority, how the Act relates to other laws and regulations, and how data acquired by SGU under the Act may be used.

– Our hope is that a review of the legislation will take place as soon as possible. The Continental Shelf Act will be increasingly important due to the serious climate situation. The Swedish state needs to keep up with innovations for the green transformation required, says Anneli Wirtén.

SGU’s formal request to the government can be found here (in Swedish)

Further reading about the Continental Shelf Act can be found here (in English)

Last reviewed 2022-11-29