Transferring the Statfjord operatorship from Mobil to Statoil ranks as one of the biggest controversies in Norwegian oil policy. The 1973 licence allowed a change of operator to be requested 10 years after a discovery was declared commercial, and Statoil asked to exercise this right in 1984. Mobil was opposed, and felt it would suffer a huge loss of prestige from such a transfer.
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Statoil as a red thread in Norway’s oil model
Norway’s politicians faced a decision when oil was discovered on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) in 1969. They had to consider how stateparticipation in the petroleum industry was to be organised. The outcome was a unanimous vote by the Storting (parliament) to establish Statoil in 1972.
The reorganisation of Statoil. “Clipping its wings” or symbolic politics?
The cross-party agreement which had prevailed at Statoil’s birth in 1972 did not last long. As early as 1973, when the company was to take over the state’s rights in Frigg, conflicts arose over its authority and the need for arrangements which ensured that elected politicians were in control.