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Norway's Statoil aims to boost local energy sector
by Daniel J. Graeber
Washington (UPI) Mar 17, 2017

Norwegian energy company Statoil said it was working to build up the domestic workforce through a contract to upgrade a platform for North Sea development.

Statoil awarded a contract valued at more than a half-billion U.S. dollars to Norwegian oil and gas services company Kvaerner to help upgrade a platform for the Njord field in the Norwegian waters of the North Sea.

"This contract is another example of new local activity and jobs resulting from the transition that the whole Norwegian oil industry has undergone in the past few years," Pål Eitrheim, Statoil's chief procurement officer, said in a statement. "A competitive Norwegian supply industry is an enabler for delivering on the goals we have set for future production and value creation on the Norwegian continental shelf."

The Norwegian government in February reported some signs of recovery as crude oil prices recover from historic low points last year. Fourth quarter average wages in the oil, gas and mining sectors were up 0.6 percent, compared with 0.4 percent growth reported in fourth quarter 2015.

Statoil has awarded contracts worth more than $5.7 billion for its giant Johan Sverdrup project in the North Sea so far, with more than 70 percent of them going to Norwegian companies.

Jan Arve Haugan, the president and CEO of Kvaerner, said Statoil's award for Njord platform overhauls represents the resiliency of the Norwegian energy sector as a whole.

"We notice that the efforts to strengthen competiveness are yielding results," he said in a statement."Costs have been substantially reduced, which in turn has contributed to make investments decisions like this possible."

Statoil estimates overhaul efforts for the Njord field will lead to an eventual recovery rate of around 333 million barrels of oil equivalent, divided equally between oil and gas for exports. The platform under development is slated for delivery in 2020.

South Sudan buys weapons during famine: UN report
United Nations, United States (AFP) March 17, 2017
South Sudan's government is spending oil revenue on weapons as the country descends into a famine largely caused by President Salva Kiir's military campaign, a confidential UN report says. The report obtained by AFP on Friday calls for an arms embargo on South Sudan - a measure that has been backed by the United States but was rejected by the Security Council during a vote in December. ... read more

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