Establishment of SDFI and Petoro

Petoro’s foundation was laid in 1985, when the State’s Direct Financial Interest (SDFI) was established. Statoil, now Equinor, managed SDFI until 2001. At that time, the privatisation of Statoil meant that the responsibility was transferred to a new State owned management company, Petoro AS, which was established on 9 May 2001.

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.
Statoil was appointed to manage SDFI up until Statoil was partially privatised in 2001. This management arrangement entailed that the company sold the State’s oil and gas together with its own. This arrangement has also continued after Petoro was established.

Simultaneously with the partial privatisation in 2001, the Storting (Norwegian Parliament) adopted a new system for managing SDFI. A decision was made to establish a new State management company through a new chapter in the Petroleum Act - Chapter 11 – a company which would act as licensee for the State’s participating interests

The mandate given to the company was, on a commercial basis, to create the greatest possible value and achieve the highest possible revenues for the State. Reference is made to Proposition No. 36 to the Storting (2000-2001), and Chapter 11 of the Petroleum Act.

Petoro AS was founded on 9 May 2001 with Tore I. Sandvold as chair of the board.

In parallel with the establishment of Petoro, SDFI was reduced because of the sale of the State’s interests to Statoil (15 per cent), Hydro and other companies (6.5 per cent).