For most of its history, Norway eked out a marginal existence from fishing, forestry and shipping. But things changed in 1969, when the country found one of the world’s biggest offshore oilfields. As the revenue started to flow, Norway began to create the world’s best system for developing mineral resources – and for extracting the maximum possible share of the profits.
From the outset, Norway decided that it was the master and not the servant of Big Oil. Twenty years after it began stashing its cash, this country of just five million people has amassed the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, with assets of more than US$850 billion – and it’s on track to exceed $1 trillion in 2020.
Unlike many other countries, Norway has taken a non-renewable resource and turned it into a financial asset that can last for generations to come. This is the story of how the Norwegians did it.
About the author
Paul Cleary is a prominent Australian journalist who has documented the politics and economics of resource extraction for more than a decade. He served as an adviser to the government of East Timor on resource-sector governance and negotiations, and has a doctorate from the Australian National University. He is the author of Too Much Luck, Mine-Field and Trillion Dollar Baby.