This paper analyses the conditions under which the Surinamese State Oil Company (Staatsolie) has been consolidated, not only as a firm oriented at the production of oil, but also as a development agent. Staatsolis chances to success seemed rather slim at its creation in the beginning of the 1980s, mainly because of the non-developmental, patrimonial character of Surinamese politics and the nature of Surinames state, which has traditionally been oriented toward patronage and clientelism. The analysis documents the origins of Staatsolie and focuses on its commitment to the acquisition and further development of technological and managerial expertise. At present, Staatsolie ranks among the most successful companies in Suriname and its contributions to the economy of this small middle-income country are considerable. The success of Staatsolies attempt to become a development agent is attributed, in particular, to the companys double strategy. The internal part of this strategy, derived from the management vision and ideological commitment of the companys leadership, was aimed at developing technological and management skills. The external part of the strategy was aimed at steering away from political influences on the company and playing out politically the formal-legal position of the firm in the petroleum sector. After 25 years of Staatsolie, it is argued that the factors that were responsible for the companys success may turn out to be the main challenges for the years ahead.