The Norwegian Government Pension Fund, or more commonly the Norwegian Petroleum Fund, established in 1990, is the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund. The fund is commonly regarded as a successful product of economic foresight in a country with strong traditions of long-term planning. As the fund was established in a period during which leading social scientists strongly doubted the ability of Norwegian political and administrative institutions to handle the large oil riches, the article examines the background of the fund in detail. Government archives reveal that senior advisors in the central administration opposed and delayed the establishment of a petroleum fund. The argument in the article is that the advisors’ previous experience with fund structures, combined with the institutional logic in which the most important advisors were situated, explains both the long-lasting opposition against the fund and how and why the fund acquired its main characteristics.