The small Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara has won a great victory: the last Norwegian investor is now selling its stocks in the petroleum company Kerr-McGee. Aftenposten, 30 June 2005.
30 June 2005
By Gunnar Kagge
Translation by Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara
Only six months ago, three major Norwegian investors owned stocks in the company, which is searching for oil outside the coast of Western Sahara. During spring, Storebrand Insurance and the Norwegian Petroleum Fund gave in to public pressure, and decided to sell. Recently, KLP Insurance
made the same decision.
Behind this pressure is the Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara, with 21 paying members. A core of 10-12 activists have kept going since 1993, built network and spread information. Western Sahara is occupied by Morocco, and was recently in the news when the Norwegian Broadcasting Company sent a documentary showing how the Norwegian Embassy in Morocco assisted Norwegian companies in exploiting the fishing resources.
Searching for oil
Primarily, it is the search for oil which concerns the Norwegian activists. The last year, pressure has been exerted against the US company Kerr-McGee, which is the last company still searching for oil
outside the occupied territory. By the beginning of the year, three Norwegian investment funds held stocks in the company, the Petroleum Fund, Storebrand Insurance and KLP Insurance.
Now all are leaving. The first week of June, the Norwegian Finance Ministry sent out a press release stating that the Petroleum Fund should sell its stocks. This put pressure on the others.
-We will sell out, but we do not know precisely when, Cornelia Moseid says. She is Advisor for Ethics and Social Relations in KLP Insurance. Moseid does not deny that the Petroleum Fund is important for assessing investments.
Already in April, Storbrand Insurance decided to sell.
- We usually do not comment individual companies in our portfolio. But concerning Kerr-McGee, I can confirm that we are completely out. The reason is that we do not find that their corporate conduct is
acceptable, Information Director Egil Thompson states.
The day before the ethical guidelines of the Petroleum Fund enter into effect, the [Norwegian] Minister of Finance is presented allegations of clear violations of the guidelines.
Claims have been made that Norway\'s Oil Fund holds shares worth Nkr46.6 million ($7.6 million) in US oil company Kerr McGee, contrary to established ethical guidelines. Upstream, December 1st, 2004.
KERR-McGee this week kicked off a massive 5000-kilometre 2D seismic sweep of its controversial Boujdour permit off Western Sahara, a territory claimed by Morocco, writes Barry Morgan. Upstream, 6 May 2004