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The blessing of the oil

Norad, Statoil and Hydro are building up the oil industry in Iraq, where the sky is darkened by riots and sabotage attacks on the country's oil installations. This is how companies get positioned in one of the world's richest oil countries.


[Iraq] The red-green government, with the SV in the lead, has withdrawn Norway's military forces from occupied Iraq.

But without debate, the Red Greens have continued a controversial and little-known project the Bondevik government gave clear signal in 2005. With NOK 27,5 million, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate, supported by Statoil and Norsk Hydro, is helping to build up the oil sector in Iraq. There, more American soldiers are now trying to crack down on insurgents and secure oil installations against sabotage. The agreement was signed with a temporary Iraqi government without petroleum legislation.

The project is part of the Oil for Development program, which was started by the Bondevik government just before it went off.

- We want to contribute to large oil revenues being used to reduce poverty in Africa and elsewhere, that the oil becomes a blessing and not a curse, said Minister of Development Hilde Frafjord Johnson (Krf) when the program was

launched September 2 last year.

But the program, which has now become part of Erik Solheim's (SV) main development assistance pillar, raises several fundamental questions: Which countries is it acceptable for Norwegian oil expertise to engage in? And to what extent is the assistance linked to Norwegian oil companies' pursuit of profits and new concessions?

No legislation

The questions concern Norway and the red-green government, especially in relation to Iraq.

For the agreement between Norway and Iraq, which. . .

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