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Eduardo G. Pereira and Henrik Bjørnebye

Section 1-2 of the Norwegian Petroleum Act sets out that petroleum resource management: shall be carried out in a long-term perspective for the benefit of the Norwegian society as a whole. In this regard the resource management shall provide revenues to the country and shall contribute to ensuring welfare, employment and an improved environment, as well as to the strengthening of Norwegian trade and industry and industrial development, and at the same time take due regard to regional and local policy considerations and other activities. Other states use different words to describe their aims, but in substance most would agree that the description above captures the overall purpose of petroleum resource management. The greater challenge is how to achieve those aims. Different models are applied from country to country depending on the societal, political, economic and legal context.

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Eduardo G. Pereira and Henrik Bjørnebye

The discovery of huge deposits of petroleum in the North Sea in the late 1960s and early 1970s came at a fortunate time for both Norway and the UK. Both countries were by then well-organized parliamentary democracies based on the rule of law, with well-educated work forces and advanced economies. In other words, both countries were in a good position to start petroleum development around 1970. Consequently, as emphasized by Erik Jarlsby in chapter 2, one factor that should not be underestimated as a contributor to success in North Sea petroleum development is that of sheer luck. As he points out, not only were huge petroleum deposits discovered on the Norwegian Continental Shelf, they were also discovered at the right moment.