The estimate for 2021 is 0.4 per cent higher than the estimate given in the previous quarter. Hence, the 2021-estimate is now approximately at the same level as the corresponding estimate for 2020, given in the 4th quarter of 2020.


Figure 1. Estimated investments in extraction and pipeline transport collected in 4rd quarter same year



The estimate for 2022 is 7.2 per cent lower than the corresponding figure for 2021 given in the 4th quarter of 2020. The previous survey suggested a decline of 4.4 per cent. A larger decrease is indicated now because the estimate for 2021 in corresponding surveys last year increased more than the upward adjustment for 2022.


Figure 2. Investments. Extraction and pipeline transport. Estimates given on different points in time



Quarterly investment statistics for oil and gas extraction and pipeline transport are included in the survey Investments in oil and gas, manufacturing, mining and electricity supply. For more details about total investments, please see the following article.

Strong increase in the estimates for field development in 2022

The investments in field development for 2022 are now estimated at NOK 53.1 billion. This is as much as 27 per cent higher than the estimate given in the previous survey. The upward adjusted estimate within field development is partly due to the submission of plan for development and operation (PDO) on a couple of new development projects. In addition, some ongoing development projects have also reported significantly higher cost estimates than previously given. These increased costs will probably not contribute to expanded production capacity more than initially planned. The estimates for fields on stream, and shutdown and removal have also increased somewhat compared with the previous survey. On the other hand, figures for exploration, onshore activities and pipeline transportation are downward adjusted from the last survey.

Despite the upward adjustment from the previous survey, the estimates for 2022 are still considerably lower than the corresponding figure for 2021 given in the 4th quarter of 2020. The decline from 2021 to 2022 is particularly related to a downturn within the investment category field development. The downturn must be seen in context with the fact that some major development projects are expected to be completed or move into a completion phase next year.

A large number of PDOs are expected to be submitted by next year. The vast majority of these projects will probably be delivered late next year, but some minor development projects are also expected to be submitted earlier. The large number of expected PDOs for next year is due to the fact that the Parliament's tax measures package, which was adopted last year, provides favourable taxation for all development investments if the PDO is delivered before the 1st of January 2023. Investment costs in development projects tend to be modest in the first year of a development. Hence, it is expected that most of these projects will have relatively small investments separately by next year, but in total they will constitute a quite large investment amount. If most of these plans are realised, the accumulated investment costs in 2022 from these projects will increase the investments in field development compared to the present estimate.


Figure 3. Contribution by cost category for rate of change in extraction and pipeline transport 2022/2021. Estimates collected in Q4 the previous year¹


¹ The contribution by cost category is calculated by multiplying the percentage change of the category with the category's share of investments in extraction and pipeline transport

Flat investment development in 2021

The investments in oil and gas extraction and pipeline transport for 2021 are now estimated at NOK 182.3 billion. This is 0.4 per cent higher than estimated in the previous quarter. The upward adjustment is mainly due to somewhat higher figures within fields on stream, but estimates for exploration and concept studies have also increased since the previous survey. On the other hand, the estimates for field development, onshore activities and shutdown and removal have been downward adjusted from the last survey.

The latest estimate for 2021 suggests that the investment level is unchanged compared with the corresponding figure for 2020 given in the 4th quarter of 2020. In the previous survey, a decline of 1.6 per cent was indicated for 2021. As figure 4 illustrates, investments in field development pull in a negative direction but are offset by growth within all the other investment categories. The downturn in field development is related to the fact that the phasing out of large developments from 2020 to 2021 is to a small extent replaced by new field development projects. Exploration activity, on the other hand, has picked up again this year after being cut sharply last year due to very low oil prices in connection with the corona pandemic. For fields on stream the increase is partly related to capacity expansion on some producing fields.


Figure 4. Contribution by cost category for rate of change in extraction and pipeline transport 2021/2020. Estimates collected in Q4 the same year¹


¹ The contribution by cost category is calculated by multiplying the percentage change of the category with the category's share of investments in extraction and pipeline transport

Lower investments in the 3rd quarter

The accrued investments fell by 2.1 per cent from the second to the third quarter of 2021 and amounted to NOK 44.6 billion. The seasonally adjusted fall from the second to the third quarter was 0.4 per cent. The accrued investments in the third quarter ended as much as 11 per cent lower than the estimate given for the third quarter in the previous survey. There was particularly a decline in accrued investments within field development, but shutdown and removal and onshore activities also had lower accrued investments than previously expected. In addition, investments in exploration components such as field evaluation, general surveys and concept studies were also lower than estimated in the previous survey.

Accumulated accrued investments for the first three quarters of 2021 amount to NOK 131.2 billion. The current estimate for 2021 requires an investment level of more than NOK 51 billion in the 4th quarter. This is equivalent to an increase of as much as 14.4 per cent from the third to the fourth quarter. Even though, historical figures show that accrued investments are usually highest in the 4th quarter, a quarterly growth of that magnitude rarely occurs. In the last 21 years, the annual estimates given in the fourth quarter of the investment year have on average been 2.3 per cent higher than the final investments. Moreover, the annual estimates given in the fourth quarter of the investment year have only been higher than the final investments in two of these years. All these things considered, makes it plausible to believe that some of the investments planned for the fourth quarter of 2021 will be postponed to next year.