The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) expects a modest increase in investment on the Norwegian Continental Shelf over the next few years.
While there was a fall in investment last year, spending this year is expected to come in around $25.6billion, which is slightly higher than the peak year, 2009.
However, NCS output is declining in spite of vigorous activity, according to the directorate.
Not enough new reserves are being found to offset current oil & gas production, it said.
The volume of undiscovered resources has been reduced from 20.76billion to 16.35billion barrels oil equivalent (BOE) – less than the current estimate for the UK sector.
The NPD said this decline can mainly be attributed to three factors: just 2.51billion BOE have been discovered since the previous update in 2006; disappointing drilling results in deepwater areas of the Norwegian Sea, and the results of surveys off Lofoten, Vesteralen and Senja.
There were 16 discoveries on the NCS last year – 10 in the North Sea and six in the Norwegian Sea.
Some 41 exploration wells were completed, of which 32 were wildcat wells.
At the same time, the authorities approved plans for development and operation for three fields in the North Sea and one in the Norwegian Sea.
However, as a result of the NPD’s latest assessment, operators have been told they need to do more to maximise recovery of remaining oil resources.
“The fact that the companies on the Norwegian Shelf are not able to achieve maximum exploitation of our fields poses a challenge,” said Bente Nyland, NPD director general
“Although our recovery rate is among the best in the world, we are still not satisfied.
“If we managed to recover just 1% more, this would mean revenues in the hundreds of billions for Norway.
“The NPD notes that time is running out for the companies to implement measures that can curb the decline in Norwegian oil production.
“First, the companies must drill their own planned development wells.
“The companies must also decide to develop reserves and mature resources in discoveries so that they can also be produced.
“In 2015, a significant portion of our oil production must come from resources in fields and discoveries.”
Total Norwegian hydrocarbons production fell 4% last year compared with 2009, to about 1.44billion BOE.
Despite only 50% of oil resources having been exploited, the proportion of produced oil to gas is currently declining.
The percentage of gas in total sales of petroleum is expected to increase from 46% in 2010 to 51% in 2015.