Norway's Statoil Is Trolling As Fast As It Can

It needs foreign fields to offset declining domestic production

When Harald Norvik took the top job at Norway's state-owned oil company in 1987, he wondered at the time "if I was the winner or the loser." With huge cost overruns, management turmoil, and plummeting morale, Statoil was a mess. But Norvik, a former deputy energy minister, skillfully used his understanding of Norwegian politics to cut government interference and chop $400 million in operating costs. Results have improved: On Feb. 22, Statoil reported pretax profits for 1995 of $2.1 billion on sales of $13.6 billion. In contrast, losses in 1987 approached $236 million. "I now see I was the winner," Norvik says.

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