Norwegian Parliament Haggles Over Statoil Sale

Published December 10th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Norway’s oil ministry said on December 8th that the cabinet was still debating the details of a planned partial privatization of state oil company Statoil.  


Cabinet members are in disagreement over what amount of the state’s direct financial interest (SDFI) in the oil and gas sector is to be transferred to Statoil ahead of the company’s listing on the stock exchange.  


Deputy Oil Minister Bjoerg Sandal said that: “The amount of the SDFI which is to be transferred is currently being discussed.  


However, I am optimistic we shall still manage to present the proposal to parliament before Christmas as planned.” The Labor Party on November 12th voted overwhelmingly to privatize up to a third of Statoil in an effort to make the company more competitive.  


The vote represented a shift in policy for the country and was seen as a major victory for the government, after months of opposition from grassroots groups.  


In its vote, the party said that: “It’s important that Statoil is given increased size and possibilities to create alliances to meet stiffer competition both at home and abroad.”  


Statoil had long campaigned for a partial privatization and hopes to see a stock market listing in mid-2001, but disagreements between the oil and finance ministries could cause delays. The party is due to present a detailed plan concerning the privatization to parliament by the end of this year. 


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