From the Financial Times:
Today, al-Kasim is well known and liked within the older generation of Norway’s oil community (for whom his impromptu visit to the Ministry in May 1968 has entered the folklore). Beyond that limited circle, however, he is virtually unknown. The big newspapers have not profiled him; an internet search reveals little. I first learned of his story by coincidence, when a Norwegian development official mentioned him in an off-hand remark. The government has an ambitious aid programme (now called “Oil for Development”) to help poor, oil-rich states manage their natural resources. The official pointed out the irony in this, given that “it was an Iraqi guy who helped us set everything up in the first place. Without him we would just have let the American oil companies decide how to do things.” What a great story, I thought, almost too good to be true. But if it was true, how come so few people in Norway knew about it?
Time for people to learn about the Iraqi who saved Norway from the misery of other oil states, Farouk al-Kasim. As the article notes, “Farouk is perhaps the greatest value creator Norway has had.”
With oil prices in free fall, OPEC has urged Norway to cut production. Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said that ain’t happening.
“Norway makes its own evaluations on an independent basis,” Støre said. He said Norwegian officials “of course” consult others, “but it’s Norway alone that makes these kinds of decisions.”
Translation: our state sovereignty is more important than trying to prop up oil prices.
(Coincidentally?) StatoilHydro announced new oil discoveries in its Visund field in the North Sea.
At least if these guys have their way:
New northern party aims to secede from Norway
What started as a group of disgruntled residents of northern Norway on web site Facebook is now emerging as a new political party bent on breaking away from the rest of the nation.
Ok, the real name they want is Republikken Hålogaland, but I think my name is more accurate.
This is my favorite part of Aftenposten’s article (not editorial), describing the group’s founder:
Winther seems to be one angry man, unleashing a stream of derogatory comments about his “arrogant” still-fellow Norwegians in the south and east.
I wonder how much the per capita income would go up in the rest of Norway if this actually happened. The southern part of Norway is where almost all of the oil, industry, and tourism is and the proposed new republic is where a lot of the government subsidies currently go. Maybe the government should wish them well and close the deal as quickly as possible.