Norway Issues Oil Development Initiative

The Norwegian Government has decided to increase assistance to developing countries seeking Norwegian expertise and experience in the petroleum sector. This assistance will be linked up with requirements for transparency and measures to fight corruption.

International Development Minister Hilde F. Johnson (Christian Democratic Party) and Petroleum and Energy Minister Thorhild Widvey (Conservative Party) announced plans to make petroleum management and good governance a high priority focus area in Norwegian development co-operation.

Experience has shown that the income from oil and gas operations in developing countries rarely benefits the population in general.

"We want to promote the use of oil income to reduce poverty in Africa and other parts of the world," commented International Development Minister Hilde F. Johnson. "We want oil to be a blessing in developing countries – not, as has often been the case – a curse."

With a view to reducing poverty and preventing conflict in oil-producing developing countries, the government will allocate an additional NOK 50 million a year over the next five years for the transfer of oil and gas management expertise. This support will also promote transparency, good governance and anti-corruption measures in the partner country in question.

"This initiative will enable our partner countries to gain more from of our experience in the petroleum sector," said Petroleum and Energy Minister Thorhild Widvey.

"The objective of this transfer of experience is to foster a positive development in the petroleum sector in the country in question. Increasing the stability and reliability of petroleum production in developing countries will also boost global petroleum supply security," Ms. Widvey added.

The government wants Norway to play a central and clearly defined role in the international dialogue on oil and development, and to promote transparency and accountability in the extractive industries. Norway has been a driving force in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). In connection with these efforts, the government will set up a website providing information on activities on the Norwegian continental shelf. Norwegian companies and NGOs will be invited to publish information here on how they will follow up the EITI.