BODOE, Norway, Oct 31 (Reuters) - Oil firms are expected to submit up to 15 development plans for oil and gas fields off Norway over the next two years, the head of the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate told Reuters on Monday.
Oil firms worldwide have been slashing investments, jobs and projects to cope with a 57-percent drop in the price of crude since mid-2014.
In Norway, it has meant oil firms have delayed the development of new oil and gas fields, with this year just three developments plans so far submitted to authorities for approval.
But the situation may pick up next year.
"We are expecting two more development plans this year and there will probably be 10-15 development plans over the next two years," Bente Nyland, who heads the state agency managing the country's oil and gas resources, said in an intervew on the margins of an oil conference.
Among them are major fields developments, such as the second phase of Statoil's Johan Sverdrup field in the North Sea, Johan Castberg in the Arctic and the extension of the production life of the Snorre field.
"Then it is a lot of smaller fields," said Nyland.
"Capital drain remains the biggest challenge for oil companies and that has not gone away. But the companies are working hard to get a grip on costs ... It is a nuanced picture. Some companies are doing OK but others are still struggling."
Nyland told Reuters in an August interview the Norwegian oil industry was showing signs of recovery.
(Reporting by Joachim Dagenborg, writing by Gwladys Fouche, editing by Terje Solsvik)
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