State-ownership in the energy sector

In the government’s view, private ownership should be the main rule in Norwegian business and industry. Direct state ownership requires a special justification.

In the government's view, there are a number of reasons why the state should exercise ownership of different companies. These relate, for example, to corrections of market failures, the maintaining of important companies, head offices functions and key competence in Norway, the management of common natural resources and sectoral and societal considerations. Beyond there being good reasons for state ownership, the state also possesses specific characteristics which may make it a good owner in a broader perspective.

These include the fact that the Norwegian state is a long-term and financially strong owner, which is able to make a positive contribution to long-term ownership. Along with other long-term investors, the state can contribute to stability and stimulate growth of Norwegian companies and competence building over time. This means that, for the foreseeable future, the state will have considerable direct ownership.

In the government's assessment, the governance of direct state ownership is handled in a professional and responsible way. Through transparency concerning corporate governance principles, respect for the division of roles and responsibilities in corporate legislation, governance through general meetings and an emphasis on choosing competent and independent boards of directors, the exercise of Norwegian state ownership can be seen as advanced, also in an international context.

The Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy administers the state's ownership of Statoil ASA, Petoro AS, Gassco AS, Gassnova SF, Statnett SF and Enova SF. The government's ownership policies are laid down in the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries' White Paper Meld. St. 27 (2013-2014) Diverse and value-creating ownership of June 2014.