Bill postponed

May 29, 2000, 20:15 CEST

The planned Bill on the organisation of Norwegian government holdings in the offshore sector has been postponed until late this year.

But the White Paper on the development and future of the Norwegian continental shelf will be presented in June, as specified in the original timetable.

The minority Labour government decided this afternoon, 29 May, to delay the Bill on the future of Statoil and the state's direct financial interest (SDFI) until after the ruling party holds its national conference in November.

That followed calls from several of Labour's county organisations that the conference must debate the issue before it is put before the Storting (parliament).

Statoil chief executive Olav Fjell finds it regrettable that more time than expected will be spent on debating this question.

"However, both prime minister Jens Stoltenberg and petroleum minister Olav Akselsen have emphasised that our future and the SDFI are important issues which must not be unnecessarily delayed," he says.

"I'm accordingly confident that the government will present its recommendations in November and that the Storting will be able to take a final vote as early as possible in 2001.

"We don't have much time to lose if we're to avoid weakening our chances of taking new measures to boost value creation off Norway and positioning ourselves in international markets as planned."