Norway Offers to Cooperate With OPEC on Oil Prices
Norway’s new Labor government offered today to cooperate with the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to try to boost world oil prices, provided the 13-member cartel contributed by cutting its own crude oil production.
Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland, in her maiden speech to Parliament after the conservative coalition resigned earlier this month, marked a change in Norway’s attitude to cooperation with OPEC.
“If OPEC countries agree on measures to stabilize oil prices to a reasonable level, the government will contribute to such price stabilization,” she said without elaborating.
Norway, Western Europe’s second-largest oil producer, had previously sided with fellow North Sea producer Britain in rejecting OPEC calls for production cuts. Norway produces 900,000 barrels a day.
Labor Party sources told Reuters that Brundtland recognized the importance to the struggling Norwegian economy of higher oil prices. The drop in prices from $30 a barrel to present levels of about $14 has slashed the country’s revenues.
Brundtland announced a 12% devaluation of the crown on Sunday and warned today that high wage earners would have to pay higher taxes in an effort to compensate for the lost oil income.