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ANCHORAGE – Governor Bill Walker and Lieutenant Governor Byron Mallott hosted a dinner for King Harald V of Norway in Anchorage Tuesday, where they discussed their respective government’s practices on oil and gas development. The meeting was part of King Harald’s larger trip to Alaska and Washington as the U.S. assumes chairmanship of the Arctic Council.
“I want to thank King Harald for making this trip to Alaska, and taking the time to discuss how his country is dealing with the impact of the downturn in oil prices on its economy,” Governor Walker said. “Alaska and Norway have both benefitted tremendously from oil and gas, but we have managed our wealth very differently.”
While each government has established a permanent fund to manage oil wealth, Norway has accumulated significantly more money in its fund than Alaska has. Currently, the country has approximately $900 billion saved in its fund and relies on oil and gas for only 35 percent of revenue. In comparison, Alaska has about $50 billion in its permanent fund and nearly 90 percent of revenue is tied to oil and gas.
Governor Walker said the meeting provided an opportunity to learn more about Norway’s economic successes and discuss the country’s oil and gas leasing model.
“In addition to owning a royalty interest, Norway is a direct investor in its oil and gas development,” Governor Walker said. “This gives the country a significant seat at the table when developing oil and gas projects and negotiating lease terms. That’s something Alaska could learn from.”
In 2011, Governor Walker visited Norway as a member of a Commonwealth North delegation visiting from Alaska. Governor Walker said he anticipates sharing lessons from that trip and his recent meeting with King Harald during his June 5-7 revenue dialogue in Fairbanks.