WikiLeaks: US knew about Mongstad before Norwegian Parliament / News / The Foreigner

WikiLeaks: US knew about Mongstad before Norwegian Parliament. Statoil representatives informed US authorities two years before Parliament learnt about CO2 capture and storage delays at Mongstad. New documents released by WikiLeaks show Statoil representatives had several meetings with US officials from the embassy in Oslo, two of them dated 6th and 12th March 2008. Benson Whitney, former US ambassador in Oslo, made several notes about developments at the Mongstad gas power plant and reported them to the US Department of State and Energy, according to Aftenbladet.

wikileaks, us, embassy, oslo, mongstad, statoil, conservative, nikolai, astrup, ketil, solvik, olsen, progress, norwegian, parliament, terje, riis-johansen



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WikiLeaks: US knew about Mongstad before Norwegian Parliament

Published on Friday, 24th December, 2010 at 12:43 under the news category, by Ramona Tancau.

Statoil representatives informed US authorities two years before Parliament learnt about CO2 capture and storage delays at Mongstad.

Mongstad
Mongstad
Photo: Nina Aldin Thune/Wikimedia Commons


Hidden agenda?

New documents released by WikiLeaks show Statoil representatives had several meetings with US officials from the embassy in Oslo, two of them dated 6th and 12th March 2008.

Benson Whitney, former US ambassador in Oslo, made several notes about developments at the Mongstad gas power plant and reported them to the US Department of State and Energy, according to Aftenbladet.

Mr. Whitney’s meeting notes read that the directors of Statoil Hydro "distance themselves from  government politicians that have publicly-announced the completion date for Mongstad has been set to 2014, dismiss political guidelines, and state the project will only be continued if it makes business sense.”

These notes prompted the Progress Party’s (FrP) energy and environmental policy spokesperson, Ketil Solvik-Olsen, to say he believes “Statoil never intended to realize “the moon landing” (månelandingen).”

Deliberate

It was not until June 2010 that Parliament was informed investments needed to cut all CO2 emissions could not be made earlier than 2014. This was the date when Mongstad should have “gone green” in accordance with the agreement signed between Statoil and the government in 2006. Such a delay implied this meant they would not be attainable before 2018.

Suspecting that the government intentionally withheld information about the progress of Mongstad advancements, Opposition parties cast a vote of no confidence against the Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Terje Riis-Johansen.

The Opposition also accused the government of not revealing what they knew about the situation at Mongstad in 2008 because it did not serve their interests for the 2009 General Election.

Both FrP’s Mr. Solvik-Olsen and the Conservatives’ (H) Nikolai Astrup believe that if the US knew about the situation, the Norwegian government must have been aware of it as well.

“Statoil has clearly communicated one vision to the U.S. Embassy in 2008, while Parliament was first informed in the spring of 2010. The information should have been passed to Parliament so it could make the right decisions, not just to foreign states,” Mr Astrup says.

More leaks to come

Meanwhile, Aftenposten’s news editor, Ole Erik Almlid, announced this week his publication has obtained WikiLeaks’ entire collection of 251,287 confidential documents held by director Julian Assagne without his consent.

“I have no comment to make regarding how we secured access to the documents. We never reveal our sources, not even in this case,” Mr. Almlid said.

Other publications that hold the documents, such as The Guardian, El Pais, The New York Times, and Der Spiegel have been invited by Mr. Assagne to participate in publication of articles based on the classified information, but are bound by confidentiality terms stipulated in signed agreements.

However, Aftenposten says it is free to use them as it sees fit.

“We are free to do whatever we want with these documents," said Mr. Almlid.

Statoil representatives refused to comment on the Mongstad matter when contacted by Aftenbladet reporters.




Published on Friday, 24th December, 2010 at 12:43 under the news category, by Ramona Tancau.

This post has the following tags: wikileaks, us, embassy, oslo, mongstad, statoil, conservative, nikolai, astrup, ketil, solvik, olsen, progress, norwegian, parliament, terje, riis-johansen.





  
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