Oslo upbeat on offshore oil, gas potential

Jan. 11, 2013 at 9:53 AM

OSLO, Norway, Jan. 11 (UPI) -- There may be a few oil and natural gas surprises left for the Norwegian continental shelf, the general director of the country's petroleum directorate said.

The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate said it expected "high activity" offshore in the next five years. For natural gas, the government said it reached a record level in sales though oil production declined more than expected. The agency said oil production should continue its decline this year but rebound in 2014.

Nevertheless, the directorate said the 13 new discoveries last year yielded 4.6 billion cubic feet of oil equivalents. An assessment of the undiscovered resources and new discoveries prompted NDP to increase the estimate of total resources on the Norwegian continental shelf nearly 4 percent to 480 billion cubic feet of oil equivalents.

"The increase in the resource estimate and major new discoveries show that the Norwegian shelf still has some surprises left, and that there is good reason for continued optimism on behalf of the oil and gas activities in Norway," NDP Director General Bente Nyland said in a statement.

His assessment follows a report from consulting company Woods Mackenzie that said there were a record number of licenses awarded last year, though some discoveries proved disappointing.

Norway is the largest oil producer in Europe and the second-largest exporter of natural gas after Russia.

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