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Norwegian government pushed for Rossport deal

The intervention of the incoming Norwegian government was a key factor in brokering the deal that led to the release of the so-called Rossport Five, according to reliable sources.The Norwegian state owns 71 per cent of Statoil, which is a minority shareholder in the Corrib field. Senior politicians are believed to have put pressure on Statoil to help to resolve the dispute.A senior Statoil executive travelled to Dublin last week and is believed to have played a key role. Helga Hattlested, executive vice chairman of Statoil, met representatives of Shell - the largest shareholder in the Corrib field - and the Department of Marine, Communications and Natural Resources, under minister Noel Dempsey. His intervention is believed to have been spurred by the new centre left administration in Norway, which will come to power shortly, after a recent election.The five men were freed last Friday after 94 days in prison.They had been jailed for contempt of court for failing to obey a High Court instruction not to interfere with the construction of the Corrib gas pipeline.Independent Mayo TD Jerry Crowley travelled to Norway and met representatives of the government and Statoil.He said this weekend that “the body language from all of them was that they didn't know what happening and that they were shocked by it'‘.

Posted Date: 
3 October 2005 - 1:42pm