OSLO: An Oslo court started to hear a $1.9 billion lawsuit by a group of international investors against Norway, in a case that challenges the country’s reputation as a predictable place to do business with little political risk.
Investors including Allianz, UBS, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and two Canadian pension funds are suing Norway over its decision to cut tariffs for using the Gassled pipeline network, arguing it was liable for the 15 billion crowns ($1.9 billion) in lost earnings they would suffer as a result through 2028.
The firms, many of which bought into Gassled in 2011 through a 17 billion crown deal for state-controlled Statoil’s 24 percent stake, argue the tariff cut benefits gas producers, the very firms that sold them their stakes.
“Statoil has an interest in this,” Jan Jansen, one of the lawyers representing the plaintiffs, who own 45 percent of Gassled, told the court in the trial that will run until mid-June. “First they sell their share and then they benefit from the change in tariffs.”