OSLO - Growth in Norway's oil and gas sector investments is expected to slow down slightly in 2013, official data showed Wednesday, as investments were adjusted downwards in the first-quarter survey.
Investments in the country's booming offshore oil and gas sector are forecast at 198.7 billion Norwegian kroner ($34.9 billion) this year, according to the first-quarter survey, Statistics Norway said.
The estimate is NOK9.1 billion lower than forecast in the fourth-quarter survey, the agency said, mainly due to lower estimates for the investments in exploration and in existing fields.
The estimate isn't expected to have a huge effect on markets, but is closely watched since the oil sector's capital expenditure has been a key source of Norway's exceptional growth and low unemployment. In 2011, Norway's gross domestic product per capita was 86% higher than the European Union average.
Oil and gas investments in Norway grew 220% from 2002 to 2012 on the back of huge projects such as Ormen Lange and Snohvit, as well as higher energy prices and ballooning costs in the oil field service industry due to capacity constraints.
The final 2012 oil and gas investment figure was NOK172.5 billion, the agency said, up 18% on the year but lower than the NOK180.6 billion estimate from the previous quarter.
The quarterly petroleum investment statistics are based on estimates submitted by oil and gas companies operating offshore Norway.
Most of the 2013 investments will be spent on maintaining output in currently producing fields, estimated at NOK96.2 billion, down from an estimate of NOK102.5 billion in the previous quarter.
The biggest investments in 2013 are expected in giant fields such as the Statoil ASA-operated Troll and Oseberg, and the ConocoPhilips -operated Ekofisk.
Investments in new fields are expected to total NOK64 billion in 2013, nearly in line with the fourth-quarter survey.
Some of the most expensive new fields are the Eni SpA-operated Barents Sea field Goliat, the ConocoPhilips-operated Eldfisk II, and the Lundin Petroleum AB-operated Edvard Grieg field.
Exploration investments in 2013 are estimated at NOK32.8 billion, down from a fourth-quarter estimate of NOK37 billion.
Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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