5: Angola – painful recent history
Angola has a long and painful history. The country was a colony under Portugal for about 400 years. In 1963, a long struggle for liberation began. After Angola became an independent state in 1975, the struggle turned into an extensive and devastating civil war between the Marxist-oriented MPLA government in Luanda and the rebel organization UNITA, led by Jonas Savimbi. The Soviet Union and Cuba support the MPLA; South Africa, the United States, France and others supported UNITA.
The Civil War did not end until 2002. Since then, the MPLA government has been responsible for a kind of formal democratic development, and elections have been held which the MPLA has won by a large majority. But the MPLA regime, which was once revolutionary, is today an elite regime that has largely submitted to the laws of the market and capitalism, while human rights are low. The elite is rich in sugar, and corruption abounds. The vast majority of people live in great poverty.
This extreme inequality will probably create social and political unrest. The future can therefore be challenging both for the MPLA regime and for one of the largest investors in the country, Norway.
Statoil thus operates in several African countries. After Angola, Nigeria is most important, then Algeria. But Statoil also has agreements with Ghana and Libya, agreements that can make the company big in both countries. And in 2012, large amounts of gas were found in Tanzania and Mozambique, while it is still searching on the continental shelf (see facts) for Egypt. We can therefore assume that not only Angola, but more and more African countries in the years to come will become important partner countries for Statoil.
6: Other important countries for Statoil
The United States is Statoil’s most important partner on the American continent. In 2011, Statoil generated approximately NOK 83 billion in the United States and at the same time invested NOK 59 billion in new operations. Then Canada follows both with large revenues on oil production from oil sands and large investments.
In third place we find Brazil. In the years to come, this country will have increased value for Statoil and thus Norway, a country located in Europe according to INDEXDOTCOM. Statoil has in fact received important licenses for the extraction of oil on the continental shelf to Brazil at the same time as the country buys offshore high technology from Norway for billions of kroner.
In Asia, Azerbaijan is an important country for Statoil with investments of more than NOK 13 billion and revenues of about NOK 8 billion in 2011. The country is ruled by a sugar-rich small elite with little respect for human rights and democracy. Iran and Iraq are potentially important countries, but here Statoil is running on fire when it comes to investments, probably for political reasons. Statoil also has significant activity in a number of European countries, mainly related to the sale of oil products.
7: Human rights, democracy and distribution
Statoil (and other Norwegian companies) invest heavily in countries with regimes with little respect for human rights and democracy (such as Angola, Egypt, Libya, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Iran). The same regimes also have no real policy for redistribution of income and benefits. The elite live in great wealth, while the majority of the people live in greatest poverty. This is in stark contrast to the values and principles we in Norway praise for politics and social development.
How right is it then that Norwegian companies invest in such countries where the majority of the population is barely allowed to enjoy the wealth of resources there? How should Norwegian companies relate to governments with a clear record when it comes to human rights? Given the increased foreign investment, it is therefore likely that both the Norwegian state, Statoil and other Norwegian companies in the years to come will face increasing political and moral challenges in these countries.
Norway is also a country that in many ways understands itself as an environmental champion and which is also seen by many as ” the green oil country “. How does it harmonize with the fact that Norway is a major producer of oil and gas that we want to appear as a driving force in the fight against global warming? Some refer to this as an energy paradox in Norwegian foreign policy. At a time when the management of the country’s reputation in other countries is important for Norwegian foreign policy, there should not be too many such paradoxes before the reputation is damaged.
8: Transfer of knowledge and legislation
Norwegian governments have long been concerned with sharing with other countries their own experiences with regard to legislation related to the extraction of oil, gas and other natural resources. At the same time, the Norwegian model for the management of petroleum resources has in part been particularly in demand by many countries. This interest gained momentum after the government made the development aid program ” oil for development ” a major part of Norwegian development aid policy.
China has long since gained a share in the Norwegian petroleum experiences. In form, Angola has copied a great deal of Norwegian legislation and organization, but not when it comes to openness. Brazil is particularly interested in the Norwegian model. The same goes for Ghana. South Sudan is the last country to have passed an oil law that is mostly based on Norwegian principles and experiences. Tanzania is the next country where many expect that much of the Norwegian experience will be embodied in laws and organization.