Anders Behring Breivik, the man who has admitted carrying out the unprecedented killing spree last Friday in which at least 76 people died, was making his first appearance before a judge.
The car bombing in Oslo and the shooting of scores of young men and women on an island nearby, were carried out in the name of an extreme racist and Islamaphobic ideology, with the ultimate goal of reversing Muslim migration to Europe.
But instead of attacking Muslims directly, he launched his meticulously planned assault on what he saw as the root cause of the "problem" - the governing Labour party and its liberal immigration policies.
When the attack began last Friday afternoon with a huge car-bomb detonated outside the main government buildings, Norway's Muslim community braced itself for the worst, assuming that what had happened was the work of Islamist militants.
Norway’s future leaders overflowed
They had visions of Norway as a nation that welcomed refugees, where the oil drilling that made the country wealthy would be curbed by environmental concerns, where young adults would get cheaper bus tickets and free condoms.
To someone older, more weary, those might sound like naive, callow visions. But to read about the past activism of the victims of the Utoya massacre is to appreciate the hopes and dreams of young women and men of an affluent, orderly country famous for social democracy and welfare-state generosity.
Norway’s future liberal elite had gathered on bucolic Utoya Island for the traditional summer camp of the AUF, the youth wing of the ruling Labour Party.
And now at least 68 of them wouldn’t come back, felled by the guns of Anders Behring Breivik, a staggering loss for a small nation of five million people.
“Utoya is my youth paradise, which yesterday was transformed into Hell,” Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said after the mass shooting.
That loss of innocence was exemplified by Hanne Kristine Fridtun, a 20-year-old who last year was elected AUF leader for the Sogn og Fjordane region in southwestern Norway.
She had been known as a big-hearted activist who worried about municipal accessibility for people in wheelchairs. She had pushed for free condoms and other contraceptives for young people so they could avoid the trauma of abortion.
Now her name was reported around the world as the victim who was on her cellphone, bearing witness to the tragedy until the line went silent.
A reporter with the Norwegian national broadcaster NRK had reached her around 6 p.m. Friday, when the rampage had begun.
“I can’t speak loudly, I have to whisper,” she said, according to Norwegian and Swedish media accounts.
“Twenty of us have hidden down by the reeds. We’ve heard shooting. We don’t know what’s happening.
Norway's oil future
The company said the 150 to 250 million barrels of oil equivalent Skrugard discovery in the Barents Sea could potentially hold up to 500 million barrels and is the most significant off Norway in the last decade. It said a nearby prospect also looked promising. “This is fantastic, a breakthrough for us in this section of the Barents Sea,” Gro Gunleiksrud Haatvedt, Statoil’s head of exploration off Norway.
This find will lead to a new boom in exploration in the area,” said Magnus Smistad, an analyst at Fondsfinans. “This is an exciting area and the potential could be even bigger.”
Statoil shares climbed 2.2 per cent to 156.7 crowns while shares in Italy’s Eni, which has a 30 per cent stake in the licence, rose 1.85 per cent to 17.65 euros.
Norway is the world’s fifth-largest oil exporter and the second-largest for gas but its oil output has been declining since 2001 and oil discoveries have become ever smaller.
In January Norwegian authorities slashed their estimates for offshore undiscovered oil and gas resources by 21 per cent to 16.4 billion barrels of oil equivalent, making the country less attractive to oil majors – until today.
“This discovery is the missing element needed to develop the Barents Sea into an oil province over the long-term,” Norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Energy Ola Borten Moe said in a statement.
Finding oil in the Barents Sea has been tough. More than 80 exploration wells have been drilled there since 1980 but only two discoveries have been made – Statoil’s Snoehvit gas field and Eni’s Goliat oilfield.
Norway - Future trends
Norway will most likely preserve its healthy economy and high living standards over the next decades, although the EU membership controversy will, no doubt, continue to be a major issue in domestic politics.
Privatization will enter the oil industry as Statoil is expected to be partly privatized in 2001. The Labor government will further sell a part of the State Direct Financial Interest in offshore oil production and will continue to invite major foreign investors to the industry. Gradual liberalization of offshore oil licensing policy will attract smaller foreign companies to the sector. Foreign trade—except in agriculture, fishing, and energy—will gradually become more and more regulated by the EU through the EEA.