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Norway Offers to Cooperate With OPEC on Oil Prices

May 13, 1986|From Reuters

OSLO — Norway's new Labor government offered today to cooperate with the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to try to boost world oil prices, provided the 13-member cartel contributed by cutting its own crude oil production.

Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland, in her maiden speech to Parliament after the conservative coalition resigned earlier this month, marked a change in Norway's attitude to cooperation with OPEC.

"If OPEC countries agree on measures to stabilize oil prices to a reasonable level, the government will contribute to such price stabilization," she said without elaborating.

Norway, Western Europe's second-largest oil producer, had previously sided with fellow North Sea producer Britain in rejecting OPEC calls for production cuts. Norway produces 900,000 barrels a day.

Labor Party sources told Reuters that Brundtland recognized the importance to the struggling Norwegian economy of higher oil prices. The drop in prices from $30 a barrel to present levels of about $14 has slashed the country's revenues.

Brundtland announced a 12% devaluation of the crown on Sunday and warned today that high wage earners would have to pay higher taxes in an effort to compensate for the lost oil income.

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