Money talks: The Socialist Left Party thinks Norwegian companies should not do business on the Israeli continental shelf; but has for now agreed to receive Israeli oil delegation.

So, in the perfect world of the Socialist Left, Norwegian companies should not engage with the Israeli petroleum industry, even when it is clear that the country’s gas finds lie safely within its continental shelf, whereas on the other hand the Norwegian state should collaborate with Israeli the Israeli oil industry – in general terms?

Once more , Groucho Marx was spot on when it comes to hypocrisy – These are my principles, if you don’t like them,… well, then I have others!


Aftenposten 2012 05 31, Kjetil Gillesvik

Last year SV was fiercely against Norway teaching Israel about oil management. Now the party has changed their energy political spokesperson – and their view.

Following their discovery of large amounts of oil offshore, the Israeli government asked Norway to teach them about oil management. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy agreed to share their expertise, and this week an Israeli delegation is visiting Norway to learn how to manage their future oil assets.

But Norway should never have said yes, was the attitude from the Israel critical SV. Last December PM for SV Aksel Hagen reacted as follows: “We have to have basic ethical and moral standards. We are talking about a request from a country at war. As long as Israel is at war we shouldn’t help them in this way”. The quotes were not used in the news at the time, but they are confirmed by Hagen.

Changed spokesperson

But in April SV changed their foreign policy spokesperson. And with this SV’s view on teaching Israel about oil also changed. “We have visits from many countries with worse regimes than Israel. Nevertheless it is important that we discuss oil management with them. We cannot have one set of rules for Israel and another one for other countries”, says SV’s foreign policy spokesperson Snorre Valen to VG.

VG has information that Hagen’s comments in December were cleared with Bård Vegard Solhjell, who at the time was SV’s foreign policy spokesperson and Leader of party group in Parliament. Today Solhjell is the Minister of the Environment.

In their party program SV says that “we will work for international sanctions against Israel to be implemented, and sanctions within the areas of culture, sports and academia should be considered”.

Nevertheless, Snorre Valen doesn’t think there will be much effect from stopping the Israelis from visiting Norway. The new spokesperson is more focused on communicating the view that there is a problem with Norwegian companies making money out of Israeli oil management.

Should be better

Norwegian companies should know better than to invest on Israeli continental shelf, thinks Snorre Valen. He refers to the disputed border lines between Israel and Lebanon.

“If it is so important for SV that Norwegian businesses don’t invest on Israeli continental shelf, why is it still okay for the government to teach them about oil management?”

“There is a difference between making money and conveying the principles of Norwegian petroleum industry in general terms”, thinks Valen.

Several Norwegian companies are currently active on the Israeli continental shelf.

FACTS: Israeli gas findings

  • In 2009 and 2010 Israel found several large gas fields in the easterly parts of the Mediterranean Sea
  • The Israeli government has decided to cut through all procedures to gain speed in the harvesting of the resources. It is expected that the second large gas field called Tamar, between Israel and Cyprus, will be in production from spring 2013
  • Several Norwegian companies are now looking to invest in Israel. Amongst the ones already in place are AGR, where former Minister of Petroleum and Energy and former CEO of Hydro Eivind Reiten is Chairman of the Board