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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Social History in the Offshore Industry
It is said that oil and the wealth it creates affect peoples’ expectations, political institutions and processes, and the division of power in society independent of actual decisions taken by political authorities. The oil worker, being a central element of the industry, is also affected by the hunt for black gold. The oil industry is inherently international, and many oil workers are in fact oil nomads, following their companies’ projects around the world.
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.