* Investments seen falling 13.9 pct in 2015 vs 2014
* Investments were seen down 12.3 pct over same time in June
* Crown weakens after data
OSLO, Sept 3 Norway's oil and gas investments, a
key ingredient of economic growth, are expected to fall more
than expected in 2015, a survey showed on Wednesday, weakening
the crown and increasing the chance interest rates will be kept
Investment on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) is now
expected to fall 13.9 percent in 2015 from 2014, a faster rate
than the 12.3 percent year-on-year drop expected in June, when
compared with the same forecast released in June last year.
Companies are now expected to invest 185 billion Norwegian
crowns ($29.84 billion) in the sector down from 215 billion
crowns in 2014.
"The new forecast indicates a steeper decline in oil
investments compared to the central bank's forecast in June and
it points to a lower interest rate path," said Kyrre Aamdal,
chief economist at DNB Markets.
When adjusting for inflation, the drop could be even bigger
than the survey suggests.
"The new forecast means a decline of about 15 percent in
2015 from 2014, which could have a negative impact on GDP by 0.2
percentage points," Aamdal said.
Norway, one of the best-performing economies through
Europe's crisis, has struggled in recent quarters due to weak
exports and consumption. Its fortunes could sour further as its
energy firms, which account for nearly a quarter of the economy,
cancel or delay some of their biggest projects.
In June, the Norwegian central bank, which has held rates
steady at 1.5 percent, cited lower 2015 oil investment forecasts
as one of the main reasons for cutting its guidance on interest
Norges Bank said it did not expect to raise rates until
2016, against previous guidance for next summer, and could even
cut rates. Its next interest rate decision is due later this
Last week, the Norwegian agency tasked with managing oil and
gas resources told Reuters it expected no new development plans
for fields to be submitted this year. In June, a few had been
expected and in January, some 13 plans were expected to be
submitted in 2014/2015.
The crown weakened to 8.1541 at 0825 GMT from
8.1283 before the data was released.
(1 US dollar = 6.1989 Norwegian krone)
(Reporting by Terje Solsvik, Ole Petter Skonnord and Nerijus
Adomaitis, writing by Gwladys Fouche, editing by David Evans)