In this case, we have sent several letters to have more questions answered. The letters were sent to the government and to Statoil. Statoil is now prepared to meet us to discuss the issue. The Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Rannveig Frøiland, stays silent.
We wonder what kind of political conflict the general assembly of Statoil, the Minister of Petroleum and Energy, will possibly interfere in to make use of its 100% ownership. Does it not suffice that the company is actually working against Norwegian foreign policy, as Statoil is obviously doing in this case? We also wonder how it can be justified that Statoil pays tax to Indonesia, for oil resources belonging to East Timor.
Frøiland thinks it is OK for state-owned companies to have a policy different from that of the government, and "will give Statoil and other companies the freedom they need to act professionally". There is no doubt as to what this means in the question of East Timor.
On several occasions, the government has focused on the companies and the owners' own responsibility in ethical questions related to business.
However, the government does not take on the same responsibility for its own companies.
Norwatch Newsletter 11/97