Conservative Party officials say the Labour Party's unclear resolution to partially privatise Statoil without necessarily listing it on the stock exchange could hamper the privatisation debate in Parliament.
But they insisted that most members of Parliament - with or without Labour - favour a stock exchange listing enabling small investors to buy and sell the stock. Moreover, while Labour Party leaders at their national convention said the state should privatise no more than one third of the state oil company's shares, the Conservatives would like to see half of Statoil in private hands to maximise its market value. In addition, Conservative Party leader Jan Petersen said the Labour Party would run afoul of European free trade agreements if, as proposed, it sought to divvy up the state's directly owned oil reserves among Norwegian companies only. He said any international oil company should be allowed to bid on portions of the Norwegian state reserves, which are currently managed but not owned by Statoil.