Norwegian oil companies have scaled back their 2017 investment plans, according to the latest Statistics Norway survey.
Economic analysts say that this increases the chances of a central-bank interest-rate cut in the New Year.
Norway’s biggest industry has been in a slump these last two years, bringing the economy to “a near standstill”, according to the Handelsbanken.
The country’s oil companies now plan to invest 146.6 billion krone ($17.21 billion) next year, the survey shows, down from 150.5 billion krone in August.
The oil sector accounts for more than 20% of the country’s economy. A Statistics Norway spokesman said: “The decline is mainly due to lower estimates for exploration and for platform shutdown and removal.
Exploration wells and removal projects originally planned for 2017 have been postponed, and plans now point to a 10% cut compared with 2016 — much deeper than the 4% cut expected by the central bank.
“This suggests that the offshore oil sector will continue to drag down Norway’s industrial sector and economic activity next year, maybe by more than we thought.”