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    Norway Appoints New Petroleum Minister

Summary

Tord Lien, who alienated Norway's fishing folk, has been replaced as petroleum and energy minister by Terje Soviknes.

by: Mark Smedley

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Norway Appoints New Petroleum Minister

Tord Lien has been replaced as Norway’s Petroleum and Energy minister by Terje Soviknes.

Lien had been tipped to be dropped since last week, after he caused a major embarrassment to Prime Minister Erna Solberg in September after he “forgot” to exclude seas around the fisheries- and wildlife-rich Lofoten islands from the country’s 24th licensing round. The area was later withdrawn from the licensing round, in response to outrage from politically-active fishing communities.

Both Soviknes and Lien are members of the Progress Party – the junior coalition partner to Prime Minister Erna Solberg’s Conservative Party. But Soviknes, mayor of Os in the county of Hordaland, is also a fisherman. He has also been nicknamed ‘The Wizard of Os’.

Terje Soviknes, the new petroleum minister, has been dubbed 'The Wizard of Os' (Photo credit: FrPMedia)

Elisabeth Vik Aspaker has also been replaced as minister for European Economic Area and EU affairs in the foreign ministry by Frank Bakke-Jensen – both being conservatives.

Lien has been petroleum minister since Solberg took office in mid-October 2013, while Aspaker became EEA/EU minister two months later. The changes, along with the replacement of the justice minister, were approved by Norway's King and became active in the evening of December 20. All three politicians were "honourably discharged from their offices" according to the official statement.

 

Mark Smedley