Fraser Institute praise of Norway's management of oil revenues misses key points

The Fraser Institute is right to praise Norway's management of it's oil revenues.

Even though Norway's petroleum fund was created 20 years after the Alberta Heritage Savings Fund, it is 41 times the size. It has $664 billion in assets and is growing rapidly. In contrast, the Alberta Heritage Savings Fund has only $16 billion.

But while the Fraser Institute praises Norway on putting 100% of its oil revenues into its funds, it avoids mentioning why this has been possible.

The Petro-Path Not Taken by the CCPA showed that the percent of oil and gas revenue going to the Norweigan government is four times what the Alberta government is getting. In 2010, Norway received between 82% and 86% of revenue from its oil and gas. Alberta received less than 20%.

The taxes Norway charges oil companies are much higher than the taxes, land rents and royalties oil companies must pay the Alberta government. Norway has been able to do this because, through it's majority ownership of Statoil, it is involved in production as well as regulation.

A final difference is that Norway resisted the temptation to use oil and gas revenues for short-term tax cuts. Because the Norweigan government minimized its dependence on oil and gas revenues, it could afford to develop oil and gas resources in a way that would meet the country's long term needs.