Norway petroleum extraction taxes lower because of the market

Published: Oct. 18, 2017 at 9:17 AM

Daniel J. Graeber

Oct. 18 (UPI) -- The 7 percent decline in tax revenue from the extraction of petroleum in Norway it due to weaker market conditions, a national statistician said.

Statistics Norway, the nation's record-keeping agency, said total tax revenue for September was up 3.5 percent from last year. From September 2015 to September 2016, total taxes moved lower by 4.2 percent.

Norway is one of the largest oil and gas producers in the region and sends nearly all of what it produces offshore to the market in the European Union. In September, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi warned that, while economic expansion would continue, "it has yet to translate sufficiently into stronger inflation dynamics."

Mirroring the ECB, Norge Bank, the country's central bank, left its key policy rate unchanged at 0.5 percent. Inflation, meanwhile, should stay below 2.5 percent during the next few years.

The National Petroleum Directorate reported preliminary figures for August, the last full month for which data are available, were lower than expected, though declines were likely the result of seasonal factors. Total discovered and potential resources are up more than 40 percent since 1990. With 50 years behind it, the NPD estimated Norway is not yet at the halfway point as a producer.

Statistics Norway reported taxes on the extraction of petroleum for September were down 7.1 percent from last year. Christopher O. Hansen, a staff member at the agency, told UPI that the trend lower was a reflection of market conditions. Oil and gas prices were high, relatively speaking, through a three-year period ending in 2014, but then dropped considerably. Conditions have improved since early last year, though the market is still more or less suppressed.

"The general point to be made is that changes in petrol taxes mainly stem from changes in oil and gas prices," he said.

September taxes from 2016 were lower than the previous year by 49.4 percent.

The price for Brent crude oil was flirting with a yearly high early Wednesday at around $58 per barrel. That's about $10 per barrel higher than this date last year, but nearly $25 per barrel less than in 2014.

Norway's central bank said it was optimistic about the overall energy sector because oil price futures were edging higher in the third quarter, while non-oil business investments were expected to improve.

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