There is an urgent need for energy in the world today. In its World Energy Outlook 2010, the International Energy Agency estimated that today 2.7 billion people lack access to modern energy services. Yet, global energy resources are more than adequate to meet the world’s energy demands. The energy deficit is unsustainable and unacceptable.

Energy decisively impacts most aspects of human welfare, including productivity, health, education and the environment. The goal of eradicating extreme poverty and hunger cannot be met without significantly improving poor peoples’ access to energy.

Norway has extensive experience in the management of both fossil and renewable energy sources. It is in order to share this experience that we have made energy-related issues a priority of Norwegian development assistance. Through the Oil for Development programme and the Clean Energy for Development Initiative Norway provides assistance to developing countries on natural resource management. I believe our assistance contributes substantially to improving our partners’ energy access and petroleum management.

This annual report presents some of the activities and key achievements of the Oil for Development Programme in 2010. The programme aims to assist developing countries, at their request, in their efforts to manage petroleum resources. The operative goal is “economically, environmentally and socially responsible management of petroleum resources which safeguards the needs of future generations”.

The programme takes a broad approach to petroleum sector management, covering the management of resources as well as of revenues and the environment. All our efforts are informed by principles of good governance such as transparency and accountability. In 2010, the programme provided customised assistance to more than 20 countries. We mainly seek to build capacity within government institutions. A competent public sector is essential for ensuring good governance of the petroleum sector. But we also support civil society organizations and media in their efforts to monitor government activities and push for transparency.

The Norwegian experience demonstrates that if managed well, oil can be a blessing and not a curse. The challenges of governance, corruption and environmental degradation must be overcome in order to avoid oil production leading to underdevelopment and conflict. Oil for Development is Norway’s contribution to the difficult task of turning each drop of oil into welfare for every citizen of our partner countries. 

Erik Solheim

Minister of the Environment
and International Development

Oslo, may 2011