This chapter describes the societal context in which the system for managing Norway’s petroleum resources developed. Norwegian society is described in terms of its economy, resources and policies. The first significant policy decisions concerning possible Norwegian petroleum resources were made in 1963 and the first discovery was made in 1968. This chapter therefore focuses on the period from the 1960s to the present. Of particular interest for the purposes of this book are the 1960s and 1970s, during which the foundations of Norwegian petroleum policy were laid. The development of Norway’s petroleum sector was facilitated by pre-existing conditions in the country, including a well-developed public administration, an advanced industrial base and a deep pool of human resources with skills that are relevant to petroleum operations.