Oil, gas to remain cornerstone of Norway economy

Norway forecast on Friday that the oil and gas sector would remain the cornerstone of its welfare state for decades to come, with less than a quarter of total resources produced so far. Norway's government said in a White Paper to parliament that it would invest in new technology to encourage oil companies to pump more from maturing oilfields and find new ones to prolong the life of the Norwegian continental shelf. "That makes us able to produce oil for at least another 50 years and gas in a 100-year perspective," Norwegian Oil and Energy Ministry Einar Steensnaes told reporters after outlining plans for the future of the energy sector. He estimated that 60 percent of recoverable oil reserves were still in place after 30 years of offshore production. Non-OPEC Norway is the world's third top oil exporter behind Saudi Arabia and Russia. Last year, oil production of about 3.2 million barrels per day (bpd) accounted for 23 percent of the gross national product.