Icelandic Prime Minister, Johanna Sigurdardottir is under pressure to ensure members of her government are free to speak their minds over the purchase of a large majority of the HS Orka geothermal company by Canada’s Magma Energy.
There is pressure from within the junior Left Green Movement coalition party for the Minister for Trade to launch an investigation into whether the purchase is legal. Non EEA (European Economic Area) companies are not allowed to buy into the Icelandic energy sector at present, but Canadian Magma Energy established a daughter company in Sweden especially to circumnavigate that obstacle. Some in the Left Greens are calling foul.
Party leader and Finance Minister, Steingrimur J. Sigfusson told Frettabladid he has some doubts as to the legality of the deal on these grounds. But the complaints are not only technical in nature.
Other Left Green MPs question whether the leasing out of energy resources for decades at a time in fact amounts to selling them – as the sale of geothermal and hydro power resources overseas is illegal, wherever the company comes from.
Industry minister Katrin Juliusdottir said on Tuesday that talks are beginning with Magma Energy about reducing the length of the lease period – but that is not enough for many and the Prime Minister is being called on to intervene personally in the interests of finding a solution to the divisive issue.