Oil Report

INTERVIEW-Norway says no ambitions to join OPEC cuts

OSLO, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Norway is not considering joining any OPEC-led cut in oil production, Energy and Petroleum Minister Terje Riis-Johansen told Reuters on Friday.

Riis-Johansen said Norway’s oil production was already in a long-term declining trend and curbing output beyond that would not make sense for the world’s No. 4 oil exporter.

“I have no ambition to accelerate the decline in Norwegian oil production,” Riis-Johansen told Reuters, when asked about a standing offer by OPEC for Norway to curb its output and help lift oil prices.

Non-OPEC Norway has twice in the past joined in OPEC-led production cuts, the last time in the late 1990s when oil fell to $10 per barrel.

Riis-Johansen said the low oil price, which has tumbled more that $100 per barrel from mid-2008 peaks, would not have a big impact on activity on the Norwegian continental shelf in 2009.

Norwegian authorities have said contractors have already been awarded most projects planned for 2009 but producers are weary about handing out new contracts for 2010 and beyond with oil prices hovering around $40-50 per barrel.

“I’m not too worried about 2009, even though some companies have challenges, but for 2010 there is reason to be more cautious,” Riis-Johansen said.

Reporting by Joergen Frich; Writing by Wojciech Moskwa