Should Green-Minded Norway Invest in Canadian Oil-Sands?

By Sullivan, Tom | The Christian Science Monitor, May 27, 2009 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Should Green-Minded Norway Invest in Canadian Oil-Sands?


Sullivan, Tom, The Christian Science Monitor


It came as little surprise when Norway's partially state-owned oil company, StatoilHydro, rejected a shareholder motion last week to pull out of a $2 billion tar-sands venture in Alberta, Canada. The effort was led by the environmental group Greenpeace, which bought shares of the oil company to gain voting rights. The group claims that tar-sand extraction will affect an area the size of Florida, including millions of acres of boreal forest, and will release more than 10 times the greenhouse gases caused by conventional oil drilling. Although the science behind the environmentalists' claims is contested by the oil industry and some analysts, the central role of oil revenue in the Norwegian economy is much clearer. Norway invests oil revenues in its government pension fund, also known as the Petroleum Fund, making it one of the largest such funds in the world, with assets worth $14 billion last year. But the tar-sands investment has provoked environmentalists, who have decried the government's unwillingness to consider what they believe is the particularly severe environmental cost of wrenching oil from sand. The government is a majority shareholder in StatoilHydro, with two-thirds of the stock. The shareholder motion to disinvest was supported by several Swedish pension funds. It sent other investors in the oil-sands project, including Denmark's Danske Bank, scrambling to consult ethical investment advisers. It also put the Canadian oil-sands issue under the media spotlight in Scandinavia in the runup to the Copenhagen climate conference at the end of the year. "This puts the government in a very strange position now," says Martin Norman, a campaign manager for Greenpeace Nordic. "On the one hand, they're working very hard to get global commitment to climate-change targets at the Copenhagen climate negotiations this fall. But on the other hand, they have nothing to say about their company's activity in the tar sands." Not in Norway's backyard? Like its Nordic neighbors, Norway has long been a proponent of high environmental-protection standards. The country also shares an open electricity market with Sweden, Denmark, and Finland, 50 percent of which is renewable energy, mainly hydroelectric power. StatoilHydro counters criticism of its tar- sands investment by pointing to its growing portfolio of wind and wave energy projects and its strong environmental record for oil drilling in the North Sea. "The world needs more energy and less CO2 emissions," says Ola Morten Aanested, a spokesman for StatoilHydro in Norway. "Our operations in the North Sea are extremely CO2- efficient compared to other oil producers around the world, and that's something we can take with us to Canada." Professor Oystein Noreng, an oil industry expert at the Norwegian School of Management, and an outspoken critic of the environmental movement, says the tar-sands campaign is misdirected.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Should Green-Minded Norway Invest in Canadian Oil-Sands?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?