May 29, 2018 / 8:36 AM / in 7 months

Norway's oil exploration rises more than expected: regulator

OSLO (Reuters) - Oil companies in Norway are raising their exploration spending more than expected, the head of the country’s industry regulator told Reuters on Tuesday.

Firms such as Equinor and other operators are now expected to drill around 45 exploration and appraisal wells in 2018, up from an earlier forecast of around 35 for the year, Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) chief Bente Nyland said.

In 2017, companies completed 34 wells off the coast of Norway, western Europe’s top producer of oil and natural gas.

As a result of the increased activity, the NPD may have to revise upwards its forecasts for the oil industry’s overall investments in Norway, Nyland said on the sidelines of a conference.

Investments are likely to rise further in 2019 and 2020 as cost inflation returns to the industry, she added.

Separately, Norwegian oil minister Terje Soeviknes said he expects to name the winners of new exploration acreage in Norway’s 24th offshore licensing round in June.

Reporting by Nerijus Adomaitis, writing by Terje Solsvik, editing by Gwladys Fouche

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