Oil prices bruising Norway's energy sector

Geoservices company TGS said oil companies unwilling to spend for its services in weak market.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |   Jan. 7, 2016 at 8:56 AM
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ASKER, Norway, Jan. 7 (UPI) -- Norwegian geoservices company TGS said the weakened crude oil market has taken its toll as fourth quarter revenues fall more than 50 percent from last year.

The company said net operating revenues of around $131 million were down 56 percent year-on-year. Investments for 2016 are expected to follow suit.

"This is partly a result of lower cost of acquiring seismic data as average vessel day rates will be substantially lower than in 2015," CEO Robert Hobbs said in a statement. "Furthermore, the activity level will be reduced as oil companies have become less willing to prefund new surveys."

Lower oil prices means energy companies have less capital to invest in exploration and production, the upstream side of the energy sector serviced by entities like TGS.

Statistics Norway, the government's data-recording agency, said it expected total investment in the energy sector for this year to come in at around $23.6 billion, a 1.4 percent increase from the estimate for the previous year.

This week, however, Norwegian energy company Statoil awarded contracts to field services companies worth an estimated $1.2 billion for work on the country's continental shelf.

Hobbs said sales for his company's services could be on par, or slightly better, than general spending trends for exploration and production.

"The significant reduction in investments combined with the effect from the cost cutting measures implemented last year should support positive cash flow development despite the challenging environment," he said.

Norway said last month the decline in crude oil prices contributed to a net decrease of nearly 5 percent in the production value in the extraction and related services industries.

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