This is the story of two places that, as luck would have it, found themselves sitting on a treasure trove of oil and gas reserves. What they have done with this newfound wealth is a case study in leadership, resource management, and adherence to democratic principles. One place has displayed foresight and good governance coupled with a desire to improve the lives of their citizens. The other has reacted with arrogance and myopia coupled with a sanctioning of corporate greed. The first place is Norway; the second is Pennsylvania. Here are their stories.
In December 1969, oil was discovered oil in the North sea just of the coast of Norway. As luck would have it, it lay withing Norway’s geographic boundaries. This was quite a Christmas gift for a county with about 5.5 million people. The big question for its leaders was: What do we do with this newfound wealth? To answer that question the country developed a set of guiding principles for the management of this newly discovered resource. Two principles were primary. The first was the oil belongs to the people not to the oil companies or the politicians. The second was the oil profits would be taxed at 78% (yes, 78%), and those taxes would eventually be funneled back to Norwegian citizens (Bloomberg, November 2018).