Norway's Green Gold: A Communicative Analysis of Petroleum from a Political Environmental Perspective in the Period of 2005-2018

Helen Andrea Mikalsen Rodriguez, Hilde Halvorsen & Marte Hortemo

Student thesis: Master thesis


This master thesis aims to investigate the Norwegian government’s public communication regarding petroleum policy from a political environmental perspective in the period of 2005-2018 and the consequences of this communication. The government argues that being one of the world’s largest petroleum exporters does not impede Norway's ability to simultaneously maintain its role as a leading climate benefactor. One may argue that this is a contradiction, and the analytical interest of this thesis is based on the juxtaposition of these arguably conflicting political standpoints. By using Niklas Luhmann’s theories, we aim to examine how the Norwegian government attaches significance to petroleum from a political environmental perspective through the use of semantics, portraying Norwegian produced petroleum as cleaner and more environmentally friendly than foreign petroleum. We identify the communicative paradoxes that emerge as these ideas are conceptualised. The thesis concludes that the Norwegian government communicates that Norwegian petroleum and petroleum production is one of the world’s most environmental friendly and should therefore be a part of climate change solutions. Furthermore, the thesis shows that this communication leads to consequences for both the government and in an environmental societal context as it is disputed whether petroleum should be a part of the restructuring process towards more environmentally friendly energy systems or not. We seek to contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of the contradictions in the Norwegian government’s public communication about petroleum from a political environmental perspective. Hence, this thesis offers a critical view of the Norwegian government’s communication about petroleum policy

EducationsMSocSc in Political Communication and Managment, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2018
Number of pages161