Oil Directorate Chief: More Norway Oil Projects Being Delayed

Article title
Oil firms are purposefully delaying the development of oil and gas fields off Norway, according to the head of the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate.


TRONDHEIM, Norway, June 26 (Reuters) - Oil firms are delaying the development of oil and gas fields off Norway, the head of the agency tasked with managing the country's oil and gas resources told Reuters on Thursday.

Her comments come after new figures show oil firms in Norway are cutting spending by more than 10 percent in 2015 compared with this year, pointing to lower economic growth for the Nordic country.

Oil and gas producers around the globe are cutting back spending plans to save cash after a decade-long spending bonanza cut deep into margins and reduced cash available for dividends.

The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) was expecting some 13 development projects to be submitted by energy firms to Norwegian authorities this year and the next, but none have so far been submitted.

"Our impression is that there is an increased number of oil projects that are being delayed," Bente Nyland, the head of the NPD, told Reuters on the margins of a news conference.

"We see that they are being moved by a few weeks or by a quarter, or even longer ... (But) we expect a few to be submitted this autumn."

The delays were due to companies wanting to do a more thorough job before taking an investment decision and going through a project one more time to be sure of their plans, she said.

"We think that is fine. We don't want people to hurry, we want people to do a proper job."

Oil firms have complained that a tax hike on the sector introduced last year by the government was part of the reason for increased costs.

Nyland said oil companies had not substantiated that claim.

"It is easy to say that it is becoming more expensive, but you must also document this, and they have not done that to a great degree," she said.

(Writing by Gwladys Fouche, Editing by Terje Solsvik and Mark Potter)


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