Sandnessjøen is a small, picturesque port town (pop. 7,361) now doubling as the administrative center of Alstahaug, an archipelago municipality in northern Norway. Though Sandnessjøen has had petroleum activities in its backyard for decades, oil never had much of an impact there. Historically, its economy centered on fishing, shipping, and agriculture. But when the British oil giant BP announced, in 2007, that it would be developing the Skarv oil-and-gas field off the coast of nearby Helgeland,1 the entire area began experiencing oiland-gas fever. Local authorities, eager to participate in the coming boom, started positioning, preparing, and lobbying to ensure that their own municipalities would get their fair share.