A News Commentary Service Published by Ramm Energy Partner

"Behind The News" (BTN) is an analysis and commentary service - not a news digest. The idea is to comment and analyze current events and trends related to the petroleum and energy business in Norway and in Norwegian politics, and to bring forward and put in context additional information buried deeper down in documents than the main news sources discover or care about. Such documents include parliament reports etc from the Government, committee reports, hearings and debates in Parliament, research reports and other studies from Norwegian and international sources, and so on. Go to lists over all back issues with headlines and bullet points from this open page.

Current BTN issues come as email with a short summary of the news or documents to be discussed, followed by a summary of the commentary itself. The text includes links to the original news sources or documents, in English when available, otherwise in Norwegian, and occasionally in other languages. The commentaries come in two channels, one Petroleum Channel (BTNP) and one for Norwegian Politics (BTNN), always in English. They do not follow any pre-determined schedule (events never do), and could be frequent in some periods and infrequent in others, but you are guaranteed at least 40 issues (both channels together) in any six month subscription period.

When you order a permanent subscription, I will give you user-ID and password to access the closed part of this website. Here you can browse or search through all back issues in full text since the beginning in August 1999 (now close to 1,200). This is an extremely valuable data base for the relevant parts of Norwegian history for more than a decade, not available anywhere else.
You need this service for your corporate planning in Norway; a country where business is strongly affected by politics. You also need it as an actor participating in the many processes within the business community and its cluster organisations and institutions. What are the main strategic issues for the petroleum cluster? Will it maintain its technological edge? Will the supply industry stay competitive and continue to extend its global reach? Why has it apparently lost productivity in the last few years? Can we cut costs, and how? What are the challenges for the various groups of companies? What is "best practise" between customers and suppliers? How does the petroleum cluster influence other parts of Norwegian industry? What do some politicians mean with "two-speed economy", and is the concept real? Is it true that the petroleum industry creates hardship for others because of wage leaks, or are the advantages for others in shape of demand and knowledge dispersion greater? Is the Norwegian economy too "oil dependent" in view of the production outlook and the oil price risk, or does the cluster have sufficient resilience and innovative power to continue to support Norway through changing times? How will climate policies influence the petroleum and energy industries and their framework conditions? What will be the next steps in Norway's efforts to develop CO2 capture and storage technology? Can the industry come up with more answers about its long term compatibility with climate targets? Under which conditions can electrification from shore be a good idea? What is true corporate social responsibility, and what is simply blowing in the wind? What are the properties and effects of the petroleum tax system, should it be amended, and in which manner? Do we need more diversity after the Statoil/Hydro merger, and how could it be brought about? Will Statoil continue to focus its NCS portfolio? How can we improve the larger oil companies' interest in the NCS? What is the outlook for opening of Lofoten/Vesterålen, Jan Mayen, the Barents Sea North, etc., after the delays agreed in the Government's deal with its smaller support parties? How should we relate to safety, co-existence with fishermen, oil spill preparedness, and other environmental aspects? How can we extend the petroleum cluster to Northern Norway? Will the smaller parties try to put more pressure on the Government about the activity level, how will the Government respond, and which role will Labour play? What happens in the "quiet diplomacy" about the Barents Sea North? What is the outlook for Norwegian gas exports to Europe, and for the European power and gas markets? Will there be a new pipeline from the Barents Sea? What will happen next with Gassled tariffs? On the political scene, we follow in particular election outlooks, political cooperation patterns, economic policies, industry policy, regulative issues, major political controversies, etc. We also follow the debate on new growth and innovation theory and policy, the debates about ownership and "active industry policy", and so on. The questions are endless and change all the time. We don't deal with everything all the time, but in combination with the archive of back issues you get unique insight in all of the above and much more.

To start with, there isn't any other. More important, because it is completely independent, candid and better than the media. Norwegian media have grown increasingly superficial, tabloid and homogenous, and their perception of reality is often influenced by what is considered "politically correct" and convenient for circulation.

BTN is not written by a committee with compromises and reservations, but by one individual with a profiled view - myself. The "we" in the commentaries is the editorial "we" - it sounds too self-centered to use "I" in that context. And BTN is not mainstream. I consider it more important to try to be right than to be liked. It is not value-neutral, since only zombies are void of values and opinions. It is objective in the sense that I try my best to be loyal to reality and logic, but not in the twarthed sense that all opinions and perceptions are equally true or good.

I welcome any information or opinions you might want to share with me, and have great use of many discussions with my readers. If you want to participate in an interactive process, you can appoint one or more or your people as a "consultant", meaning they will receive drafts for upcoming issues a day or so in advance, with no obligations, only an opportunity to comment. Sometimes I will take the liberty of sending drafts on my own initiative if your company is mentioned in a manner I think you might want to comment upon, for example to verify factual information. All such communication is entirely confidential, and will be used only as background for my own final argument, absolutely without reference to the source. Please note that I only use open sources for facts, references, and quotes.

I have intimate knowledge of all relevant institutions and major issues through more than 45 years of experience from Norwegian politics, public administration, and the petroleum business. I have been a journalist and an editor; a politician and a deputy minister; a small business manager and a business consultant for most major companies in the industry as well as the authorities and many business associations, and I have taken part in many research projects. You can see my CV here.
BTN is available for subscribers only, but you can on request (send a mail!) get a free trial subscription for the period you need to test and decide. I don't want any uninformed or impulsive sales. I want you to realize that you like the service and need it before you pay. Some do not like it - or me. That's fair enough. I don't like everybody or everything either. And you don't need something that tries to be everything to everybody.

I'll invoice you when you are ready to make a purchase. The price is NOK 12,500 (25% VAT added if invoice is paid from Norway) for six months, pre-paid (reasonable after you have enjoyed a free trial subscription, OK?) which includes all issues on both channels and access to the closed web site with the entire full-text archive. This is a company subscription which is the only one available. It gives you the right to redistribute as much as you like within your corporation (at least 50% ownership both directions), world-wide. External Board Members can be included with a supplementary subscription of NOK 2,500. I can also send current issues directly to several recipients, but limited to what I call a "reasonable" number, since I use an ordinary mail application and my mailing capacity is limited.

By agreeing to a trial subscription or purchasing a paid subscription, you commit yourself to treat the commentaries as company confidential, that is, not to quote or redistribute to persons not employed by the subscriber. You are, however, allowed to recommend the service to your business contacts and I won't object if you once in a while extend the confidentiality for this purpose.

I have full virus protection, and have never encountered any significant virus problems. Your email address is safe, since all issues are emailed with a suppressed recipient list. Nobody else has access to the subscribers list, and I am not in the irresponsible business of selling addresses, to anyone, period. Dealing with me will definitely not cause any spamming. There is no advertisements in the mails or the website, not because I have objections to advertisements, but because I can't bother to sell them. Note that I occasionally encounter problems with subscribers' spam filters. Such problems are ususally dicovered and solved, but if I appear to be silent for too long, please take contact to check whether there might be a technical explanation.

I am not in the US, so I do not need long pages of disclaimers, but it should be obvious that although I have a pretty good record of analyzing future events, I can't be responsible for whatever actions you undertake based on my advice. Once you have agreed to a subscription, it will run until you cancel, which means you are liable for a proportional share of the subscription fee if you cancel after the renewal date. There is no refund if you cancel in the middle of the period, but I will credit you in the next invoice if the number of issues falls short of 40 per six months (or 80 for a 12-month subscription that also is available). Nothing is added for issues above the guaranteed number.

I am a one-man company and not a bank, so I am not in the business of giving credit. You are expected to pay within 14 days after I have sent the invoice. I don't care whether large corporations have a "policy of at least 30 days credit", I do not and that's how the deal is, unless we have agreed differently. On the other hand, I am very sloppy about sending reminders, I am often late with invoices, and I rarely bother to add anything for late payment. It is more interesting to write than to deal with all that paper work. That should make up for the 14 days. Thanks for understanding how it is to run a small business alone.

Ramm Energy Partner, PO Box 104 Stovner, N-0913 Oslo, Norway.
Tel +47 21902000 or +47 92805015.
This page last updated 22 January, 2014.