Norwegian oil industry highly optimistic about the future
The Norwegian oil and gas industry is highly optimistic about the future, shows an economic outlook barometer from SpareBank 1. Especially companies with large exposure to the offshore oil and gas markets expect increased activity and higher income.
The hard-hit Norwegian offshore oil and gas markets have had dire years since the oil price collapsed in 2014, but optimism has returned to the industry with 60% of all companies expecting improvement in the next few years.
When looking at companies with large exposure to the offshore oil and gas markets that number is even higher. 73% of the companies which have more than two-thirds of their exposure in oil expect to earn more money thanks to increased exploration and production activity.
The newfound optimism is based on a stabilized oil price, which currently hovers around USD 60 per barrel (Brent), improved earnings of the oil majors and increased exploration activity.
More money, more oil, more jobs
According to research from Norwegian consultancy firm Rystad Energy, listed oil majors are bringing in cash at the best rate ever witnessed even though oil prices have only partially recovered from the huge drop suffered in 2014 and 2015.
In 2018, the oil companies saw their free cash flow for public exploration and production (E&P) skyrocket to almost $300 billion last year, marking the return of the “super profit” for industry majors. “And 2019 could turn out to be another blockbuster year,” the analysts said.
Rystad Energy also noted that the improved earnings have led to an increase in exploration activity and that exploration is off to a flying start this year. In February, oil companies recorded 2.2 billion barrels of discovered oil resources, the best monthly tally on record since August 2015. In total, discoveries in the first quarter reached 3.2 billion barrels of oil equivalent (boe), which equals to one-third of the total oil and gas discoveries of 2018, which amounted to 9.1 billion boe.
As a result of these improved market conditions, Norwegian oil major Equinor just last week announced it is looking to hire 250 new employees this year.