Investment offshore Norway is predicted to rise to its highest ever level according to government figures. According to an estimate for oil and gas activity in 2012 by Statistics Norway, expenditure should reach NOK 184.6 billion (US $30.638 billion) in 2012 – NOK 33.8 billion ($5.619 billion) higher than the corresponding estimate for 2011.
That new total – which is defined by the Norwegian agency as the total investment in oil and gas activity, including pipeline transportation – is the highest figure predicted since records were first collected in 1985.
"The increase for 2012 compared to the corresponding estimate for 2011 is due to higher investments in fields onstream, field development, and exploration, with the estimate also indicating a decrease in onshore activity and pipeline transportation," Statistics Norway says.
Persistent high crude oil prices, and the programs needed on the many mature fields on the Norwegian continental shelf, are cited as just two of the reasons behind the record outlay.
"Many field developments are taking place," the agency points out. "The oil companies have extensive drilling plans, both within production and exploration. Production in many fields is falling, and many platforms are old. These facts necessitate upgrading on a large scale. Worn and obsolete infrastructure will be replaced and new physical capital and technology will be implemented mainly to increase oil recovery in fields."
Furthermore, recent discoveries in the past few years have been made close to existing infrastructure, generating new business for development of supplementary resources at an accelerated pace, exploiting both a high oil price opportunity and available production capacity on existing installations.
Exploration spending offshore Norway in 2012 is forecast to reach NOK 32.4 billion ($5.387 billion) – up NOK 900 million on the figure for 2011, the agency indicates. "The celebrated discoveries earlier this year [at Aldous and Avaldsnes among others] contribute to a greater will to invest in exploration."
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