OSLO, Norway, Oct. 9 (UPI) -- The Norwegian government said it expected investments in the oil and natural gas sector to reach $30 billion by the end of the year.
Norwegian Energy Minister Ola Borten Moe said natural resource production should increase in the coming years. Active investment in existing fields, however, is needed to realize the full potential.
"To ensure that we realize the value potential of the petroleum resources, we must also continue to develop finds, conduct active exploration in opened areas, and complete ongoing processes to open new areas," he said in a statement.
Total petroleum reserves on the Norwegian continental shelf last year were estimated at about 80 billion barrels of oil equivalent. About 60 percent of that hasn't been extracted.
Borten Moe said the bulk of the $30 billion set aside for the energy sector would help fund development of existing fields, however.
"Investing in the extraction of these resources now, while this infrastructure is available, is good resource management," he said.
Norway is the largest oil producer in Europe and the second-largest exporter of natural gas after Russia. Oil production is expected to reach 1.7 million bpd by the end of the year. Gas production should reach 3.7 trillion cubic feet.
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