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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Terror aftermath forces Stoltenberg to drop huge oil exhibition

Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg was supposed to be the keynote speaker at the opening of the huge oil industry exhibition Offshore Northern Seas (ONS) in Stavanger this week. Instead, Stoltenberg has been summoned to the Norwegian Parliament to address politicians on what went wrong during the emergency response to last year’s terrorist attacks in and just outside of Oslo.

Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, shown here at a memorial for victims of last year's terrorist attacks, has been called to address Norway's parliament on Tuesday, when he had planned to speak at ONS. PHOTO: SMK

Stavanger has for years been considered the country’s oil industry capital, and an estimated 50,000 industry players are gathering there this week from all over the world for what’s billed as the world’s leading energy event. Stoltenberg, who’s been playing an international role in balancing the need for energy with climate concerns, planned to speak at the ONS opening on Tuesday about the paradoxes and dilemmas faced by both oil industry executives and environmentalists.

Instead he must face opposition politicians and his own government coalition’s MPs at an extraordinary session of Parliament. The session was called following a government-appointed commission’s criticism of the emergency response to the attacks by a lone Norwegian right-wing extremist who killed 77 persons including many of Stoltenberg’s own party members.

King Harald was still on the ONS agenda, however, maintaining a tradition of officially opening the exhibition for an industry that’s largely responsible for Norway’s extraordinary economic strength. The monarch was due to land in Stavanger around 11am on Tuesday, open the exhibition at 2pm and depart Stavanger at 4:30pm, according to local newspaper Stavanger Aftenblad. The exhibition itself runs through Friday.

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