In many ways, Petoro’s history started with the establishment of the State’s Direct Financial Interest (SDFI) through the so-called “wing-clipping” of Statoil in 1984/85. But Petoro was not established until 2001, when the partial privatisation of Statoil necessitated a new management form for SDFI.
The early 1980s brought lively discussions about Statoil’s rapid development to a dominant position in the Norwegian oil activities and in the Norwegian economy in general. At the same time, the Willoch government worried about the risk entailed by having a relatively young company manage a very large portion of the State’s revenues.
A broad-based compromise negotiated between the Willoch government and the Labour Party included a decision to transfer about half of Statoil’s ownership interests in licences to what was called the State’s Direct Financial Interest. However, part of this compromise allowed Statoil to retain its large ownership interest in Statfjord and major interests in Gullfaks and other important fields.