Defence and Security Studies no. 1/2009
Title: Norwegian oil policy on Svalbard. The Caltex case 1960-67
Author: Kristoffer Bjørklund
Once imagined as the jewel of Norway’s Arctic possessions, the archipelago of Svalbard was recognized as Norwegian by the Svalbard Treaty of 1920. However, the treaty subjected the recognition of Norway’s sovereignty to stipulations. These stipulations have given rise to several disputes involving the Norwegian government on the one hand, and companies operating on Svalbard and parties to the treaty on the other. By allowing oil exploration on Svalbard, the Norwegian Ministry of Industry opened what seemed to be a Pandora’s Box: as the American company, Caltex, had been conferred claims, it seemed impossible to stop Soviet companies from setting up on the archipelago. In addition, through a complex web of jurisprudential argumentation, Caltex challenged the very nature of Norway’s sovereignty over Svalbard.
Kristoffer Bjørklund (1979) has a Masters in contemporary history from the University of Oslo. Since 2008 he has worked as a research fellow at the department of Norwegian security policy at the Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies.