Norway's assets jam

After the Norwegian government was criticized for its role in the takeover battle for Saga Petroleum AS, the country's assets are in the news again.The government engineered a deal between state firm Statoil AS and Norsk Hydro AS, of which it owns 51%, that enabled Hydro to beat off Elf Aquitaine SA to buy Saga (OGJ, June 21, 1999, p. 24).Saga Chairman Wilhelm Wilhelmsen resigned in protest at the government "using taxpayers money to nationalize Saga." At first sight, the recent suggestion by Statoil that Norway's petroleum assets should be privatized looked like a move to reassure foreign investors (OGJ, Aug. 23, 1999, Newsletter).This was not the case. A Ministry of Petroleum an...

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