Greenpeace won its bid to delay oil exploration
in the north Atlantic when a judge ruled the British government was failing to apply a European Commission environmental directive in allocating licenses.
The government is considering an appeal against the judgment on the basis that it is not taking into account the Commission's Habitats Directive in issuing exploration licenses. A spokesman said the government had been planning to issue new licenses in its 19th round early in 2000, but this was likely to be delayed.
Ten energy companies were also party to the case. These were: Texaco, Esso UK, Marathon Oil UK, Mobil North Sea, Enterprise Oil, Conoco Ltd, Statoil, Philips Petroleum Co UK, Elf Exploration and British Gas Exploration and Production.