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The Norwegian state's relationship to the international oil companies over North Sea oil, 1965-75

The Norwegian state's relationship to the international oil companies over North Sea oil, 1965-75

Nore, Petter (1979) The Norwegian state's relationship to the international oil companies over North Sea oil, 1965-75. PhD thesis, Thames Polytechnic.

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The thesis examines the relationship between the Norwegian state and the international oil companies from 1965 when the first oil concessions were granted on the Norwegian Continental Shelf to the beginning of 1975. It singles out three variables which were the objects of bargaining between the state and the companies during this period; oil-rent, volume control and Norwegian share of spinoffs from oil. To study in more detail the division of oil-rent over time we have constructed a cash-flow model which incorporates different participation schemes which were negotiated between the state and the companies and which also takes account of different exploration success rates. This framework of analysis makes use of a historical methodology. It attempts to recreate what the likely division of rent would have been at the time when new concessions were granted to the companies in 1965, 1969, 1973, 1974. It is only based on what the state and the companies expected the costs, revenues and tax conditions to be that it is possible to understand the historical development of Norway's oil policies. We have also carried out a number of sensitivity tests to see how changes in the variables which influence costs and revenues would have affected the division of rent and the Internal Rate of Return (IRR) of the companies. The most important of these factors was the shape of the production profile.

To understand the development of the three chosen bargaining variables over time, and in particular the constantly increasing role of the Norwegian state with respect to all three variables, we have relied on three explanatory factors. First exogenous changes in the expected Present Value from the oilfields in the North Sea; secondly the situation in the international oil industry; and thirdly the special characteristics of the Norwegian state. While development of the first two factors opened up the way for a strengthening of the role of the Norwegian state in the industry and made them easier to achieve, the particular form and manner in which these changes were grasped by Norwegian policy-makers can only be understood with reference to the historical and political peculiarities of the Norwegian state, in particular the weakness of the national Norwegian capitalist class. Norwegian oil policies also operated within a set of ultimate policy constraints. This meant that the Norwegian policies tried to increase the state's share of the total rent by a process of participation and by the creation of a state oil corporation, Statoil, which did not imply any fundamental confrontation with the private companies and which left the IRR of these virtually intact. There are thus no 'unicausal' explanations of the increase in the role of the Norwegian state in the oil industry. Any satisfactory explanation must rely on an interdisciplinary perspective. No purely economic, sociological or political approach to state intervention in a modern society is possible.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Norway, oil industry, economic relations, international relations, North Sea,
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DL Northern Europe. Scandinavia
T Technology > TP Chemical technology
Pre-2014 Departments: School of Humanities & Social Sciences
School of Humanities & Social Sciences > Division of Economics
Last Modified: 04 Jul 2017 14:12

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