Labour divided over Statoil future

The Norwegian association of labour unions is so divided over the future of Statoil, Norway's state-owned oil company, that the issue could split the ruling Labour Party could during its national convention next week.

While the party leadership has proposed a partial privatisation of Statoil, many officials in the powerful Labour Organization (LO) are opposed. At a meeting Monday LO leaders sidestepped the privatisation issue but rallied around a related proposal to establish a state-owned holding company that would oversee Statoil as well as the state's 43-percent stake in Nork Hydro and the voluminous petroleum reserves owned outright by the state. According to the newspaper Dagens Næringsliv, such a holding company could also end up controlling the state-owned electricity generating company, Statkraft.