Norway’s oil lobby raises spending forecasts for 2020 and beyond

By Mikael Holter on 12/12/2019

OSLO (Bloomberg) - Norway’s oil lobby raised the investment forecast for the country’s offshore industry for the coming years, even if it still sees a sharp drop in 2021 amid a lack of big new projects.

Oil and gas companies operating in Norway will raise investments by 4% to 194.6 billion kroner ($21 billion) in 2020, the Norwegian Oil and Gas Association said in annual forecasts presented on Thursday. That’s up from 182.5 billion in its previous prognosis.

Key Insights

The group raised its spending forecast for each year through 2023, but still sees investments leveling off from 2021 after an initial 12% drop. Spending will then fall to about 140 billion kroner in 2024, it predicted.

Norway’s oil industry has recovered from the bruising 2014-2017 slump, with spending rising from 2018 thanks to higher prices and deep cost cuts that made projects more profitable.

Investments have long been expected to peak in 2019-2020 before cooling off due to a dearth of new big projects. Oil and gas discoveries offshore Norway are becoming smaller and exploration in frontier areas of the Arctic Barents Sea has been disappointing.

When it presented its previous investment forecasts in January, the Norwegian Oil and Gas Association warned that the drop off in spending after 2020 could be reinforced if uncertainty over the industry’s regulatory framework grows.

Norway’s statistics agency’s latest quarterly survey showed oil companies expect to invest 183 billion kroner in 2020. That suggests a stable spending level from this year, but the figure may also rise with some projects due to be green-lighted.

The oil lobby’s members include companies like state-controlled Equinor ASA, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Total SA, Aker BP ASA and Lundin Petroleum AB, as well industry suppliers such as Schlumberger Ltd. and Aker Solutions ASA.

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