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Norway Lowers 2013 Oil Spending Estimate on Capacity Constraints

Norway cut its estimate for oil and gas spending this year by 4.4 percent as constrained access to drilling rigs reduced forecasts for exploration and investments on producing offshore fields.

Spending in the country’s oil and gas industry is forecast to reach a record 198.7 billion kroner ($34.9 billion) in 2013, down from a December estimate of 207.8 billion kroner, Statistics Norway said today, citing its quarterly survey of producers and explorers. That would mean the rate of investment growth would slow to 15 percent this year from the previous 12 months, when spending rose 18 percent to 172.5 billion kroner.

“The reality of rig availability might have struck” oil companies reporting their investment plans, said Staale Maeland, an adviser at the statistics agency, by phone from Oslo.

Capacity constraints in the Norwegian oil and gas industry may drive costs further, cause delays in field developments and leave resources in the ground, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate said in January.

Drilling costs are as much as 45 percent higher in Norway than in the U.K., a government-appointed commission said in August last year, warning that a failure to address regulations and labor costs risks hampering the country’s potential in terms of petroleum production.

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