Главная Petroleum and gas industry of Norway: from origin to world’s level
Petroleum and gas industry of Norway: from origin to world’s level Печать E-mail

Andreev O.A., Professor of the Department of the Baltic Institute of ecology, politics and law, Barents Center of Social Researches, Murmansk

Vitryuk O.A., Director of the Personnel Consulting Agency “Andreev and Partners”

Spiyes Mattias, Research Assistant of the University of Yoensuu (Finland)

After a huge gas deposit was discovered in 1958 near the city of Groningen in the Netherlands, neighbouring countries began to hope to make similar discoveries on their territories. The geological structures of the North sea region supported such hopes, as they looked like a gas-bearing province of Groningen.

At the same time, West countries encountered an increasing energy dependence upon the Arab countries of the Near East. Step by step, this dependence became too defining, especially for the powers that be in the West. In 1956, a world petroleum crisis broke out, when Egypt declared its control over the Suez Canal and closed petroleum delivery by tankers. The dependence upon the black gold was realized immediately. Since that time, the intensive searches of alternative petroleum deposits around the whole began.

In the late 1950-s, Norway also began to take care of its resources. On the whole, it did it quietly, as there were only few of those who believed in possible petroleum and gas reserves on the North sea shelf (Holt-Jensen 196, 213).

Nevertheless, Norway laid claim to the adjoining sea territories and then proclaimed its sovereignty over them, according to the Geneva Convention, 1958 (OLF 1993, 6).

The Norwegian Government especially intensified its activity, because 2 years earlier, an American petroleum firm "Phillips Petroleum Company" had required the exclusive rights for the research and development of the deposits in the Norwegian territorial waters. But it was not time for the negotiations about licenses, yet. The first licenses were issued only in 1965. The Norwegian Government did not give the exclusive rights to the "Phillips", and the continental shelf was open for all steadily working companies. Besides, the "Phillips Petroleum", there were also claims from the "Amoko", "Ecco", "Amerada", "Elf", "Shell", "Total" and other companies. In general, 22 licenses for the researches in the South part of the North Sea were issued. The first holes were bored in 1966. It took 3 years more, before a profitable deposit was found. Many competitors suspended their scientific researches, in 1969, that very "Phillips Petroleum Company" discovered a large and much-promising deposit "Ekofisk". In 1971, an industrial petroleum extraction began. "The Petroleum Century" started in Norway.

From the very beginning, the Norwegian legislators began paying a special attention to a petroleum and gas branch. They admitted that the importance of this branch was so considerable for the whole Norwegian society that it cannot be given into the hands of private companies only. That is why, in 1972, a state petroleum company "Statoil" and a state petroleum-business management body (the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate) were created. More than that, the Norwegian Parliament took a principle decision to give the "Statoil" company not less than 50 % of all future licenses. Thus, the Government guaranteed its strong influence and control in the petroleum and gas sector.

The political and war events in the Near East, due to which a considerable growth of world's prices for petroleum had taken place, stimulated a further development of the Norwegian petroleum industry. The 2 oil crisis of 1973-1974 and 1978 raised the price for oil from 3 US $ per barrel to 34 US $ per barrel. A high world's price for oil stimulated the intensification of the research and development of the North Sea shelf. The investments made into such an affair requiring large expenses could already pay for themselves quickly. As a result, the Norwegian oil industry began to develop rapidly.

1970-1980 were marked by the discovery and beginning of the industrial operation of huge oil and gas deposits, such as Statfiord, Frigg, Oseberg and Gullfax. Some of them were ones of the largest in the world. The first pipe-line was also built in that period. The investments into the development of the Norwegian continental shelf exceeded the incomes, besides, since 1975, the Norwegian Government began taking an export duty for oil and gas (Gibbs 1999, chapter 2).

The Norwegian legislators continued playing an active role in the development of oil business. The country' s government passed detail rules for the participants of oil business. For example, a maximum annual extraction of raw petroleum and natural gas was fixed. There were also established the rules of the co-ordination of the interests of different business participants, which lead to the positive development of the economy and Norwegian society, in general. A special attention was paid to the attraction of a national personnel and to the opportunities for business prosperity and the well-being growth of the population.

Since 1985, a more direct state participation in petroleum business has been set up. It has been reached by launching a new system of the State direct financial interest (SDFI), which defines the participation of the government in investments and its share in incomes. The Norwegian government's share is put into the "Statoil" company and other corporations' licenses.

1990-s were characterized by the increase of the incomes from the petroleum industry both for the government and private companies. All large deposits, except the Sleipner and Troll pads, were already in the stage of a full operation. For the first time, during the Norwegian petroleum century's short, history, incomes exceeded expenditures. At the same time, many deposits reached their maximum of production, thus, for example, the Ekofisk, Statfiord, Oseberg and Gullfax pads gave about 80 % of the Norwegian oil and gas.

In 1990-s, the most important new deposit was the Troll pad. The size of the reserves and the production opportunities were huge, but this deposit became a turning point in the development of the Norwegian continental shelf. But it was the last deposit so rich in hydrocarbonates. After it, they began to develop deposits which were considerably smaller in their volumes.

In 1990-s, Norwegian economy was in a very good state owing to a minimal dependence of the oil and gas sector upon loans and credits. That is why the government suggested, and then established the "Petroleum Fund", on the accounts of which excessive financial means began to accumulate. Since that time, they have begun to direct large financial means to the growth of the population and especially future generations' well-being.

MODERN STATE OF THE PETROLEUM AND GAS BRANCH OF NORWAY

In 2003, there were 45 developed oil and gas deposits in the Norwegian territorial waters, in general. In addition to them, there are 9 pads more with confirmed, but yet not being developed, reserves. All deposits together gave 258 million cubic meters of the petroleum equivalent (p.e.) of hydrocarbonates, including 193 million cubic meters p.e. of raw oil and gas condensate and 65 million cubic meters p.e. of natural gas. In 2002, oil extraction decreased a little, but gas extraction increased by 22 %.

Nowadays, Norway takes the 7th place among the leading oil-extracting countries of the world with 4.3% from the world’s extraction. In oil export, Norway is on the 3d place after the Saudi Arabia and Russia. The Norwegian export of natural gas is about 2 % of the total world’s export and almost 10 % from the West-European demand. In gas export, Norway is on the 4th place among the largest exporting countries. Besides, Norway is the 3d country in the world in the export of natural gas by pipe-lines (NPD 2001).

According to some forecasts, oil extraction will be stable in the nearest years, but henceforth, it will gradually begin to reduce. Gas extraction, on the contrary, will considerably rise in this decade owing to its huge reserves. Natural gas will play a more increasing role in the country’s economy. The share of gas will have gone up from today’s 25 % to 42 % by 2010 (Olje- og Energidepartementet 2003, 39).

The total reserves of the discovered and supposed deposits of hydrocarbonates in Norway are estimated at 13.7 billion cubes p.e. 3.5 billion cubes are already extracted, what amounts to 26 % from the total reserves. Hence, 10.2 billion cubes are still in reserves. But this figure should be taken with caution, due to the large possibility of a mistake in the estimation of the supposed geological deposit reserves.

According to the information given above, Norway takes a considerable place and in future, it will play an important role in the world’s trade in oil products. The main buyers of Norwegian oil are the Great Britain, the Netherlands and France. The country uses only about 16 % in its own needs (Table1).

Table 1. Share of the consumers (in %) of Norwegian gas in 2002 (Olje- og Energidepartementet 2003, 44)
1. Great Britain - 22.5%
2.Own needs - 15.9 %
3.The Netherlands - 13.0 %
4.France - 10.4 %
5.Germany - 8.6 %
6.USA - 7.9 %
7.Canada - 5.6 %
8.Sweden - 4.1 %
9.Other countries - 12.0 %
Total: 100 %

Recently, in Europe, the total consumption of natural gas has considerably increased. At the same time, the importance of Norway as one of the main deliverers has risen. At present, the chief buyer is Germany, which consumes up to 42 % of Norwegian gas. France, the Netherlands and Belgium take the following places (Table2).

Table 2. Share of the consumers (in %) of Norwegian gas in 2002 (Olje- og Energidepartementet 2003, 45)
1.Germany - 42.4 %
2.France - 21.3 %
3.The Netherlands - 9.7 %
4.Belgium - 8.3 %
5.Italy - 6.7 %
6.The Czech Republic - 3.9 %
7.Spain - 3.7 %
8.Other countries - 4.0 %
Total: 100 %

The prospecting of new oil and gas deposits on the continental shelf of Norway is constantly going on. 12 new deposits were discovered in 2001, and 9 - in 2002. Their reserves are estimated at 43-51 million cubes p.e. on raw oil and 25-32 billion cubes p.e. on natural gas. It should be noticed that only 60 % of the Norwegian territorial waters are open for researches, and only 9 % of the territory – for the licensed extraction.

So, the continental shelf still has its possible potential for the discovery of new reserves. Of course, these new expected deposits will not be as large as the first ones. On the contrary, the discoveries of deposits considerably smaller in volume, but in a large amount, are expected. In general, for 25 years, over 100 economically profitable deposits have been discovered. The end of the Oil Century in Norway is not seen yet (Hagland 2000).

Large expectations in Norway are connected with the gradual moving of scientific developments and industrial operation to the north. The North Sea is still able to give a high oil extraction, but a rather small amount of the discoveries of new deposits is expected. The forecasts for the Norwegian and especially for the Barents seas are much more positive, besides, they have been researched considerably less. The first scientific hole was bored in the Barents sea in 2000. Interesting oil and geological structures were discovered, but large depths, the difficulties of the sea bottom, an insufficient infrastructure on land make the exploitation of the deposits more complicated. Another obstacle is a large remoteness from sales markets, what implies the necessity of distant pipe-lines or the delivery by tankers. That is why there is another alternative plan of receiving electricity at power stations from the hydrocarbonates of the Extreme North, as it is planned in the Melkoy commune, which is situated not far from the deposit “Snokhvit” (Statoil 2003).

The most important deposit in the North, in the Barents sea is called “Snokhvit” (Snowflake). The plan of the development of this deposit was finally approved in March 2002, though it was discovered in 1984. It took 18 years to solve different geopolitical, technical and other organizational questions.

Recently, considerable changes have been made into the practice of the state’s direct participation in oil and gas business. In 2001, the Norwegian Parliament changed the state’s role. In Autumn 2002, the government was permitted to buy 17 % of SDFI to the “Statoil” state company and 6.5 % of the state shares – to other companies.

Besides, the “Statoil” company was partially privatized, and its shares have begun to be quoted at stock exchanges in New-York and Oslo since June 2001. In general, 18.2 % of the state monopoly’s shares have been sold into private hands. Members of the Norwegian Parliament also started negotiations and consultations concerning a further reduction of the state packet down to 2/3. The main reason of the partial privatization is the supposition that the government together with other stock-holders will solve in a more effective way the questions of the return of shares and the increase of incomes, than in a totally state firm. At present, 81.7 % shares belong to the government, it has a total control over taking decisions (Olje- og Energidepartementet 2003, 17).

Together with the partial privatization of the “Statoil” company, a decision on the creation of two new state firms was taken. The “Petero” company will manage state shares in oil business, and the “Gassko” company will be responsible for the transportation of natural gas ( in the same place, 18).

NORWAY’S MAIN OIL AND GAS DEPOSITS

Some deposits played a considerable role in the past. Now, they are almost worked out, hence, their meaning is rapidly going down. The “Gullfax”, “Oseberg”, “Statfjord” and other pads refer to them. The most worked out deposit is the “Statfjord” deposit, taking originally the 3d place in size. The “Ekofisk”, “Troll” and “Asgard” pads still refer to large pads. The most perspective deposit is considered to be the “Snokhvit” deposit, which has just begun to be rapidly developed on the Barents sea’s shelf with the use of the most up-to-date innovation technologies (Table 3).

Table 3. Resources of the deposits being exploited or having approved development plans in million cubic meters p. e. (NPD 2003).

Deposits Year of discovery Beginning of extraction Original reserves Remained reserves
Balder 1967 1999 63 51
Brage 1980 1993 49 4
Biggve 1991 2004 3 3
Draugen 1984 1993 144 54
Ecofisk 1969 1971 669 216
Eldfisk 1970 1979 146 35
Embla 1988 1993 18 7
Fram 1987 2003 20 20
Frigg 1971 1977 116 1
Glitne 1995 2001 6 3
Grane 1991 2003 120 120
Gullfax 1978 1986 361 43
Gullfax Sur 1978 1998 75 59
Gungne 1978 1998 75 59
Guda 1980 1990 43 4
Kheydrun 1985 1995 213 127
Khevmdal 1972 1985 49 1
Khod 1974 1990 10 1
Khulra 1982 2001 18 14
Yotun 1994 1999 30 13
Kristin 1997 2005 86 86
Kvitenbjom 1994 2004 73 73
Mikkel 1987 2003 33 33
Murkhison 1975 1980 15 1
Njord 1986 1997 24 10
Nome 1992 1997 104 55
Oseberg 1979 1988 438 125
Oseberq Sur 1984 2000 64 54
Oseberg Ves 1984 1991 8 7
Oceberq Est 1981 1999 25 15
Siqin 1982 2002 11 11
Sleipner 1974 1993 257 106
Skirne 1990 2004 5 5
Snorre 1979 1992 253 137
Snokhvit 1986 2006 187 187
Statfiord 1974 1979 647 51

 

 

 

Deposits Year of discovery Beginning of extraction Original reserves Remained reserves
Statfjord Nord 1977 1995 42 14
Statfjord Yost 1976 1993 40 10
Signa 1996 2000 11 6
Tambar 1983 2001 10 7
Tor 1970 1978 40 6
Tordis 1987 1994 62 21
Troll 1979 1995 1612 1355
Tune 1996 2002 30 29
Ula 1976 1986 88 16
Vale 1991 2002 5 5
Valkhall 1975 1982 205 110
Varg 1984 1998 6 1
Veslefrikk 1981 1989 60 14
Viqdis 1986 1997 43 21
Visund 1986 1999 101 94
Asgard 1981 1999 369 323
Total: - - 7123 3776

Besides, there are some deposits on the continental shelf, for which up to now, no plans of technical and economic development have been worked out. But these deposits can be used in a long-term prospect. It especially concerns the “Ormen Lange” pad, the reserves of which are rather large (table 4).

The “Ekofisk” deposit

It was that very deposit which was the beginning of the Norwegian petroleum century, it is situated in the southern part of the Norwegian continental shelf. In summer 1969, the “Phillips Petroleum” company bored a test hole and discovered huge reserves 300 km to the south-west from the Norwegian coast. The depth of the sea in that place was only 70 meters, what made the successful opening up of the reserves considerably easier. For a long time, the “Ekofisk” has been the main source of oil extraction. And this deposit still keeps its importance.

At present, the “Ekofisk” deposit, the original reserves of which amounted to 669 million cubes p.e., takes the 2nd place in size on the Norwegian shelf after the “Troll” pad. The “Ekofisk” has worked since 1971, and it is mainly raw oil that is extracted on the deposit. For over 30 years of exploitation, 453 million cubes p.e. have been extracted and sold. Originally, the oil extracted was brought to the coast by tankers. But in 1975, a network of specially built pipe-lines was put into operation. Since that time, oil has been transported by the “Norpipe” pipe-line to the region of Tisside in England, and natural gas is taken to the South of the North sea to the region of the city of Emden in Germany by another gas pipe-line (Olje- og Energidepartementet 2001, 74).

The highest point of extraction was reached in 1980, when they got 440 thousand barrels per day (1 petroleum equivalent = 6.29 barrels). At present, the extraction is between 360 to 225 thousand barrels per day. 8.4 billion Norwegian crowns (1 euro = 8.56 Norwegian crown on 22 January 2004) have been invested for the development of this deposit. By now, 29 platforms for the servicing of the deposit have been built, in general. The “Ekofisk” zone includes the “Ekofisk”, “Eldfisk”, “Embla” and “Tor” pads. After finishing the first phase of the exploitation of the deposit, many constructions are to be gradually dismantled. The second phase of the exploitation began in 1998, it has a production license till 2028. 216 million cubes p.e. hydrocarbonates are assumed to be left in the reserves. It is not excepted that the license can be prolonged in the future once more time (Anda 2001, 23).

The “Troll” deposit

This deposit is situated 80 km to the north-west from the city of Bergen at the depth of 300 m. Its total square is 750 km2, it consists of two parts: the Troll Ost and the Troll West. It was discovered in 1979, the plan of development was passed in 1986. The test borings in 1980 proved the profitability of the project.

The first phase of the project began in 1996 from the extraction of gas on the Troll Ost, for which they had built in the sea a 470-meter construction, connected by a system of pipe-lines and cables with the processing plant in Kollsnes. It is considered the highest construction in Europe and the largest traveling object in the world with unique innovation equipment. The second phase implies the extraction of oil in the Troll West, which is connected by a pipe-line with the processing plant in Mongstad. The third phase, the beginning of which is not defined yet, will be directed at the extraction of gas, again.

The total reserves of the deposits amounted to 1612 million cubes p.e of oil and gas. For the period of exploitation, 257 million cubes p.e. have been extracted, that is, there are still huge reserves left for many years. The pipe-lines work regularly. From the deposit, gas is transported by the pipe-line “ Zeepipe” to the place of Zeebrugge in Belgium, by the “Statpipe” and “Norpipe” pipe-lines – to the city of Emden in Gernmany, by the “Franpipe” pipeline – to Dunkirk in France.

Over 100 billion Norwegian crowns have been invested into the construction of the deposit, in general. Such investments became possible due to long-term contracts on the delivery of Norwegian gas to European countries. Yet, in 1986, the gas companies of Germany, France, Holland and Belgium signed with the stock-holders of the deposit a special contract on gas deliveries. This contract is the largest economic agreement in Norwegian history, it is valid till 2029 and includes obligations both on the development of the deposit and on regular deliveries to consumers.
Drawing 1. System of Norwegian oil and gas pipelines (Olje- og Energidepartementet 2003, 145).

The “Asgard” deposit

This is one of the relatively new deposits, consisting of tree relatively small pads. It is situated 200 km from the central part of the Norwegian coast. The work conditions are rather hard, the depths vary from 240 to 310 metes, the geological structures of the bottom are difficult for working. A system of sea drilling and other production units has been built for the exploitation of the deposit.

The original reserves have been estimated at 369 million cubes p.e., not over than 46 million cubes p.e. have been extracted. The maximum of a day-and-night extraction has not been reached yet, it is planned in 2007. The deposit gives 15 % from gas extraction in the country and 10 % from the extraction of raw oil. The gas extracted first goes to the processing plant in Karsto and then, by the “Europipe-2” pipeline, through the North sea to Continental Europe. Raw oil is transported by tankers.

According to the present-day level of extraction, it is planned that there will be enough oil deposits up to 2014 and natural gas deposits – up to 2030. According to the Norwegian standards, the validity of the deposit and the repaying ability of the investments made into the technologies used are medium-term. In early 1990-s, the expenses for the development of similar deposits were twice and more expensive. The deposit will pay for itself much sooner (Donnerbaum 2000).

The “Snokhvit” (“Snow-flake”) deposit

The deposit includes the “ Snokhvit ”, “Albatross” and “Askeladd” pads. This deposit is situated in the Barents sea, 140 km to the north-west from the city of Khammerfest in North Norway. The reserves were confirmed yet in 1984. In March 2002, the Norwegian Parliament established the plan of development and production on the deposit. The development strategy is based on the need to build necessary sea constructions for the extraction and further delivery of gas and condensate to the processing plant in Melkjoya near Khammerfest. There, the gas will be transformed into a liquid state and then brought to consumers with the help of vessels specially equipped. The beginning of the extraction is planned in late 2005, and the deliveries to the markets of Europe and the USA will start not earlier than in October 2006 (NPD 2003, 39). The market of liquefied natural gas is one of the fast-growing energy sectors, mainly, owing to the fact that it can be transported outside the pipe-lines acting nowadays. For the last 20 years, the demand for it has increased by 4 times. The deposit reserves are estimated at 187 million cubic meters p.e., the period of extraction is supposed to last until 2035 (Statoil I).

The building of the complex under Khammerfest was started in summer 2002, and it has been successfully going on in spite of a 3-month lag. The necessary expenditures are estimate at 24.4 billion Norwegian crowns, and 17 billion crowns more will be spent on the building of a plant on gas liquation (Olje- og Energidepartementet 2003, 134).

This deposit takes a special place in the country’s oil and gas branch, as this is the first project in the Barents Sea. This project will not only contain new technical solutions, but it will make a huge influence on the regional development of the country’ north. 1200 specialists and workers are involved into the building works, from 350 to 400 working places will be created at the plant after finishing the construction.

Pipe-line system of Norway

Right after the beginning of the hydrocarbonate extraction, a question about the effectiveness of their delivery to consumers arose. Only vessels and pipe-lines are suitable for transportation at sea working fields. Most of the oil extracted on the continental shelf, is delivered to the land by ships. Pipe-line transport is much more important for the transportation of natural gas. The main consumer of natural gas is Continental Europe, that is why, recently, a developed system of pipe-lines has been built. Besides, pipe-lines after their construction are comparatively cheap in operation. The country’s pipe-line system is shown in Drawing 1.

The “Norpipe” pipe-line was the first one, it began working in 1977. Now, it is a system of oil and gas pipe-lines, starting from the “Ekofisk” deposit. A 440-km gas pipe-line goes to the city of Emden in Germany, and a 350-km oil pipe-line goes to the place Tissite in England. At present, the power of the gas pipe-line is 40 million cubic meters per day, and 810 thousand barrels per day are transported by the oil-pipe-line (NPD 2003).
The 880-km pipe-line system “Statpipe”, also consisting of several pipe-lines, was finished in 1985. The main purpose of this system is the transportation of hydrocarbonates from the “Statfjord”, “Gullfax” and “Oseberg” deposits to the processing plant in Karsto. The total power of the whole system is 55 million cubic meters p.e. per day.

The “Zeepipe” pipe-line system delivers gas from the processing plant in Kollsnes through the North sea to place called Zeebrugge in Belgium. Its total length is 800 km. The building of this system was finishe in 1993. At present, the volume of transportation is 41 million cubic meters p.e. per day and night (Olje- og Energidepartementet 2003, 148).

Another network of pipe-lines, which got the name “Oyropipe 1” (“Euroline 1”), was laid from the Norwegian coast to Germany practically parallel to the “Norpipe” pipe-line. It had been constructed for the transportation of gas from the “Troll” deposit, its length is 660 km, its power is about 50 cubic meters p.e. per day and night. Next system of pipe-lines “Oyropipe 2” (“Euroline 2”) connects the processing plant in Karsto with the place Dornum in Germany. Its length is over 650 km, the power of gas pumping is 71 million cubic meters p.e. per day and night.

An increasing demand for natural gas caused the building of an 840-meter pipe-line called “Franpipe”. It connects the Norwegian shelf with the port of Dunkirk in France, it was put into operation in 1998, its power is 52 million cubic meters p.e. per day and night. The last for today gas pipe-line called the “Asgardtransport” pipe-line, was built in 2000, it connects the deposits of the Norwegian sea with the processing plant in Karsto. The pipe-line’s length is 745 km, its power is about 66 million cubic meters p.e. (Olje- og Energidepartementet 2003, 148).

Conclusion

The influence of the Norwegian oil and gas branch on the working force market is not special in comparison with other macroeconomic indices. Only 16.4 thousand people are employed in this branch, what is 0.7 % from the total number of the working. If to take into consideration such adjacent branches as transport, building, the number of working people will be 81.7 thousand people, what corresponds to 3.5 % of the Norwegian labour market (Olje- og Energidepartementet 2003, 64).

But on the whole, Norwegian economy is rather dependent on oil and gas. And its state has not always been so good as in 2004. The changes of world’s prices for oil, a constant political instability and uncertainty in the world’s problem regions often lead to economic difficulties, which are sometimes impossible to forecast. For 1998-1999, low world’s prices for oil caused a considerable reduction of the state’s incomes. A governmental petroleum fund has been created to prevent the negative consequences of the price reduction and to ease the blows of the economic uncertainty at the social sphere. Since 1996, 609 billion crowns have been transferred into the investment fund of social development.

The oil and gas branch is a considerable part of Norwegian economy. Its share in the Gross Domestic Product, export, total incomes of the state, is essential. For the last decades, this share has been constantly growing, and for the last three years, it has reached an especially high level. The share of oil and gas has already reached in its cost expression 45 %, their share in the total incomes of the government varies within the interval of 25-30 %, and its share in the Gross National Product is about 20 % (Olje- og Energidepartementet 2002, 35).

The reasons of the stable position of the country’s oil and gas branch are, first of all, high world’s prices for energy bearers, a favourable for the Norwegian crown course with respect to the US dollar. Their influence prevails in spite of the very high production expenditures in Norway. Today’s especially high price for raw oil, over 50 US dollars per barrel, is advantageous for the countries extracting oil. This price level is a new crucial stage, when oil and gas extraction in the world’s new regions, for example, in the Arctic, becomes profitable. Once, the critical price at 12 US dollars per barrel, made the oil extraction in the North sea profitable. Some time earlier, the Saudi Arabia had started its oil extraction at the world’s price of 1.5 US dollar per barrel. By the way, Norway’s high level of technical development, integration into the world’s market system, and its political stability further the competitive ability of the country.

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