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Norway's Oil Industry Boosts Investment Despite IEA Report

Oil firms expect to spend 4.8 percent more on oil and gas operations offshore Norway in 2021 compared to the previous estimate three months ago, thanks to more fields coming on stream, Statistics Norway said in its quarterly survey on Wednesday.

Total investments in oil and gas activity, including pipeline transportation, are now estimated at US$21.8 billion (181.9 billion Norwegian crowns) for this year, which is 4.8 percent higher than estimated in the previous quarter. The higher investment forecast is mainly driven by field development and fields coming on stream, Statistics Norway said.

Since the last quarter, the industry has filed with authorities development plans for two oil and gas fields, which were not included in the previous estimate.

The upward revision of expected investments now point to slight growth of 0.9 percent in 2021 compared to 2020.

Yet, current estimates for investments in oil and gas in Norway in 2022—albeit higher in the latest survey than in the previous one – still point to an overall drop next year compared to this year. The latest investment forecast for 2022 is US$17.2 billion (142.8 billion crowns), up by 3.1 percent compared to the estimate in the previous survey in February.

At the end of last year, the Norwegian Oil and Gas Association said that investments in oil and gas offshore Norway were set to decline by 4.2 percent in 2021 compared to 2020, a smaller drop than what the industry feared in early 2020.

The association, the main industry body and employer’s organization for the sector, commented last week on the bombshell report of the International Energy Association (IEA) that suggests no new investments in oil and gas are needed if the world wants to reach net-zero emissions in 2050.

“Norwegian Oil and Gas does not share the assumption that Opec members alone should account for more than half of oil and gas production for the world market in a 2050 perspective. If demand does not decline as rapidly as the IEA assumes in its scenario, and the supply side is simultaneously choked off, global energy provision could be threatened and lead to very high energy prices,” the association said in a statement. The industry body also noted that halting oil and gas exploration offshore Norway would deprive the country of revenues and jobs necessary for supporting industries such as carbon capture and storage, hydrogen, and recovering seabed minerals.   

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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