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Photo: Øyvind Knoph Askeland

Norwegian Oil and Gas expects high and stable investment on the NCS

Norwegian Oil and Gas today presented its analysis of investment on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) in 2022-26.

Total investment for 2022 is estimated at NOK 174 billion, down by six per cent from 2021 measured in fixed prices. Spending is expected to increase again from 2023.

“This year’s investment analysis gives grounds for optimism,” says chief economist Ellen Bakken at Norwegian Oil and Gas. “We expect a moderate increase in NCS investment from 2022 to 2025. That gives jobs nationwide and big revenues for society, which will also be important for financing the green shift we’ll be going through.”

The petroleum industry was strongly affected in the spring of 2020 when the pandemic hit Norway and oil prices plunged. A study by Rystad Energy showed that investment up to 2022 could have almost halved from the 2019 level. Great uncertainty prevailed, with jobs under threat nationwide. A large majority of the Storting (parliament) voted for the package of measures designed to avert a deep crisis in the oil industry.

“We’re now seeing the results of the temporary tax changes,” says Bakken. “Our estimate for 2022 indicates roughly the same level of investment as we predicted before the pandemic. This shows the measures have functioned as intended. Jobs and projects are secured.”

Norwegian Oil and Gas expects investment in 2022-25 to rise from NOK 174 billion to NOK 192 billion. This is because a number of projects are expected to be sanctioned by the end of next year, as has also been communicated in several other analyses presented in 2021, including those from Statistics Norway, Rystad Energy and Norges Bank.

“Our analysis shows that the industry has faith in the future, and that it’ll continue to play an important role for Norwegian value creation,” observes Bakken. “We see that projects also get removed from company investment plans. Companies are setting tough priorities, evaluating their portfolios continuously and basing all projects on high required rates of return.”

In its investment analyses for previous years, Norwegian Oil and Gas has emphasised that a number of projects which were at an early planning stage could be realised without being included in its estimates at that time. That could raise investment further along the five-year period. A look back at previous analyses shows that this expectation has been correct.

“This year’s analysis shows a decline to NOK 155 billion in 2026,” says Bakken. “Because that’s some way off, however, the figure could be higher. If we achieve a stable supply of attractive acreage, explore and find more resources, the level of investment could also be maintained in the longer term.”

The analysis is published annually, and draws on the companies’ own investment plans at the end of the present year.

View the recording of the report presentation here.

You can read the entire report here.

Norwegian Oil and Gas forecasts, December 2021 (NOK mill in 2022 value)








Investment in fields and discoveries

142 888

132 300

139 700

148 200

150 800

118 000

Cessation and removal

8 448

6 900

5 100

4 800

2 700

2 800

Pipeline transport and onshore activities

5 115

3 800

  6 200

8 200

9 000

5 300

Exploration and concept studies

29 469

31 000

30 400

29 800

29 200

28 600


185 919*

174 000

181 400

191 000

191 700

154 700

Estimated real growth







Total investment, Dec 2020

182 000

164 500

165 100

170 900

148 300


* Statistics Norway survey, November 2021 (2022 value).