Prime Minister Erna Solberg pledged to protect Norway’s oil industry from political interference as the central bank warned it may cut interest rates to save western Europe’s biggest crude producer as investments slump.
The 53-year-old premier, who has warned the country faces a “hard landing” unless it can boost productivity and lower costs in its oil industry, said investors don’t need to fear more delays caused by political wrangling, in an interview yesterday.
The comments come amid signs that firms are reluctant to pour more cash into their operations. A survey last week showed oil companies plan to cut investments by as much as 21 percent in 2015 from a record this year, as high exploration and development costs, as well as political interference, make projects less profitable.
Solberg’s government is hoping that Johan Sverdrup, the biggest discovery off Norway in at least 30 years, will help revive production. Her comments, which include a discussion of opening new oil fields, serve to temper talk that Norway needs to wean itself off reliance on its petroleum industry.
Published: February 23, 2024