Norway: High Activity on the Norwegian Continental Shelf Well into Future

The Ministry of Petroleum and Energy prepares, on a yearly basis, estimates for the activity level on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS). The estimates are based on data from the oil companies and evaluations made by the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate and the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy.

In 'The Revised National Budget 2006' the budget price for Norwegian crude oil is NOK 420/barrel for 2006. In 2007 the estimated oil price is NOK 360/barrel. Compared to the National Budget 2006, this is an increase of NOK 70 for 2006 and NOK 50 for 2007. Continued high demand for oil, lack of spare production capacity and uncertainty regarding oil deliveries from Iraq, Iran and Nigeria are the main reasons for the higher oil price assumption.

Norwegian oil production has been on plateau level of about 3 million barrels per day since 1995. The average production of Norwegian crude oil (including NGL*) is expected to be 2.8 million barrels per day in 2006. This is somewhat lower than 2005, and slightly lower than our previous estimate in the National Budget 2006. The main reasons are capacity problems on Snorre, delayed start-up of Kristin and delays in several drilling programs. In 2007, production is expected to increase to 3 million barrels per day. Oil production is expected to further increase in 2008, followed by a gradual decline in the years to come.

Gas sales in 2006 are estimated to approximately 87 billion square cubic meters (scm). In 2005 gas sales were 84.4 billion scm. Over the next years gas sales are projected to increase considerably. In the Revised National Budget 2006 the prognosis is an increase up to a level of 120 billion scm in 2010.

2006 might be a record year for investments on the Norwegian continental shelf. The estimate for 2006 is in the region of NOK 97 billion. This implies an increase from the National Budget of about 5 per cent. Investments in exploration are included. The development of the Ormen Lange and Snohvit fields are the largest contributors to the high investment level in 2006.

The state's net cash flow from the petroleum sector is estimated to NOK 349 billion in 2006. Taxes and fees constitute NOK 210 billion. Net cash flow from the State Direct Financial Interest (SDFI) is NOK 126 billion and dividend from Statoil is NOK 13 billion. Compared to the estimate in the National Budget for 2006 the state's net cash flow has increased with NOK 20.8 billion. The main reason for the increased estimate is higher estimated oil price. Expectations of slightly lower production, increased costs for production and exploration and increased investments makes the increased estimate for the state's net cash flow somewhat lower.