Last year's tax income was so high that Norway did not need to touch its massive petroleum fund to balance the national budget. Mainland Norway's taxpayers covered the bills, and virtually the entire fund went untouched.
While money is being pumped into state coffers like never before higher tax payments steadily reduce the need to dip into the oil fund to run the country.
Use of the oil fund has fallen sharply in the past decade. In 1993 Norway burned off NOK 70 (USD 8.35) billion. Last year's consumption was just NOK 1.6 billion, pocket change in terms of the country's hoard.
Parliament reckoned on a deficit of 12 billion when calculating the 2001 budget, with total expenses of 500 billion. At the same time parliament, under pressure from the then ruling Labor Party, that more of the oil fund would be made available for use starting from 2002.
Tax and duty revenues for last year exceeded expectations by 16 billion, leaving the state up 10 billion after taking higher than expected expenses into account