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By Gwladys Fouche
OSLO, Feb 21 (Reuters) - Oil and gas companies working in Norway have lowered their investment forecasts for 2019 to 172.7 billion crowns ($20.1 billion) from 175.3 billion crowns seen in November, a survey by the country’s statistics agency (SSB) showed on Thursday.
In 2020 investments are expected to fall to 158.5 billion crowns, according to initial forecasts, though the forecasts could be revised upwards in the months to come, it added.
“Several plans for development and operation are expected to be submitted to the government in both 2019 and 2020,” the agency said in a statement.
“If the schedules for these plans are realised, the accumulated investment costs in 2020 from these projects will increase the investment in field development compared to the present estimate.”
Equinor is Norway’s largest oil company, competing with the likes of Aker BP, Lundin Petroleum , Total or Shell.
The Norwegian central bank expects investment in the oil sector, the Nordic country’s most important industry, to grow by 3 percent in 2020.
“Our first impression is that there should be no need for a major revision to the Norges Bank forecast,” said Nordea Markets analyst Erik Bruce.
Norway’s oil and gas investments have rebounded from a sharp fall as rising crude prices lift industry activity. It was SSB’s fourth release of companies’ forecasts for 2019 and the first for 2020. ($1 = 8.6077 Norwegian crowns) (Reporting by Gwladys Fouche Editing by Jason Neely and David Goodman)