The debate ahead of the 1972 referendum on Norwegian membership of the European Community and “red-green” political trends made Norwegian self-determination a key concept. The Storting (parliament) eventually demonstrated great determination in securing Norway’s offshore interests.
A recommendation presented in 1971 by the Storting’s standing committee on industry laid the basis for a unified Norwegian oil policy. This was expressed as the “10 oil commandments”, which specified that the most important goal of Norway’s policy in the petroleum sector was to secure national supervision and control.
Norway was to make itself independent of crude oil imports. To ensure this, the oil was to be landed in the country. New petroleum-based industrial activity was to be created, and the government would support the development of an integrated Norwegian oil community.
In addition, a state-owned oil company would be established to manage the government’s commercial interests. State oil company Statoil and the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) were established in 1972. Statoil in particular, but also Hydro and the privately-owned Saga Petroleum, were thereafter given favorable treatment in the award of licenses in the NCS.
The “10 oil commandments”
- National supervision and control must be ensured for all operations on the NCS.
- Petroleum discoveries must be exploited in a way which makes Norway as independent as possible of others for its supplies of crude oil.
- New industry will be developed on the basis of petroleum.
- The development of an oil industry must take necessary account of existing industrial activities and the protection of nature and the environment.
- Flaring of exploitable gas on the NCS must not be accepted except during brief periods of testing.
- Petroleum from the NCS must as a general rule be landed in Norway, except in those cases where socio-political considerations dictate a different solution.
- The state must become involved at all appropriate levels and contribute to a coordination of Norwegian interests in Norway’s petroleum industry as well as the creation of an integrated oil community which sets its sights both nationally and internationally.
- A state oil company will be established which can look after the government’s commercial interests and pursue appropriate collaboration with domestic and foreign oil interests.
- A pattern of activities must be selected north of the 62nd parallel which reflects the special socio-political conditions prevailing in that part of the country.
- Large Norwegian petroleum discoveries could present new tasks for Norway’s foreign policy.
Storting’s standing committee on industry, spring 1971.The name FriggFrigg discovered