Norway approved on Wednesday the development of 19 offshore oil and gas projects worth more than $18.5 billion (200 billion Norwegian crowns) in investments, as Western Europe’s top oil and gas producer looks to sustain the high production from its continental shelf.
The 19 projects approved today include new developments, additional development of producing oil and gas fields, and investments to increase resource recovery in producing fields, the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy said. The projects are being led by Aker BP, Equinor, Wintershall Dea, and OMV.
The new investments in oil and gas will create jobs and value for Norway and contribute to Europe’s energy security, Petroleum and Energy Minister Terje Aasland said.
The projects are also expected to build competence and provide a basis for further technological advances, which will be decisive for the ramping up of development of low-carbon industries such as carbon capture and storage (CCS), hydrogen, and offshore wind, Aasland added.
Norway has become the single biggest supplier of natural gas to Europe after Russia cut off most pipeline deliveries following the invasion of Ukraine.
Last month, Equinor reopened the Njord gas field in the Norwegian Sea, aiming to more than double the field’s production and raise Norwegian gas exports to Europe.
“With the war in Ukraine, the export of Norwegian oil and gas to Europe has never been more important than now. Reopening Njord contributes to Norway remaining a stable supplier of gas to Europe for many years to come,” minister Aasland said at the time.
Norway and the operators on its shelf expect to maintain the current high volumes of natural gas production for at least another five years as companies have pledged $28 billion (300 billion Norwegian crowns) to develop new fields and extend the lifetimes of producing fields, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate said last earlier this year.
Norway’s oil and gas policy is in stark difference with the sudden regulatory changes in the UK, the second-biggest oil and gas producer in Europe, where windfall taxes and pledges for no new licenses in the North Sea have already made operators wary of investments.