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Big perspectives in the north

July 8, 2005, 11:45 CEST

The petroleum industry in the Barents Sea could form a new primary industry in the north on a level with fishing and tourism.


Expected annual national investments in NOK million up to 2020. The grey line indicates investments and the red line indicates operating costs.

This is the main preliminary finding of an industrial economic analysis of the spin-off effects from Snøhvit up to 2020. The analysis was carried out by two Norwegian consultancies, Barlindhaug and Bedritskompetanse.

"Our final report will be ready in September," says Johan Petter Barlindhaug, chair of the Barlindhaug consultancy.

He presented the preliminary findings at a press seminar in Kirkenes, Finnmark county on 7 July in connection with the international Arctic Energy Agenda conference for business and industry and the authorities.

The analysts forecast that the total investments and operating costs could amount to roughly NOK 20 billion during the next 15 years. The north-Norwegian share could account for about one sixth of this sum, Mr Barlindhaug reports.

He emphasises that a precondition for the analysis is that more hydrocarbons get discovered in the Barents Sea, and that new finds will require further development of the Snøhvit facilities.

A new LNG terminal in Finnmark county and a future gas export line from eastern Finnmark to mid-Norway are part of the basis for the figures.

Hans M Gjennestad, strategy manager for Statoil in the Barents region, says that the Barents Sea has the potential to play a prominent role in securing long-term and diverse energy supplies for Europe and the USA.

"The Snøhvit development is the start of this," says Mr Gjennestad. "Long-term and continuous efforts are necessary to prove new reserves. The regional consequences of such potential developments will be very substantial."