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How Norway does it

In 2010, a huge new oilfield was discovered in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea, west of Stavanger. With an expected lifetime of 50 years, total earnings could be in the region of £125 billion. In the ten years it will take to get to full production, jobs will have been created to the tune of 150,000 person years. Because Norway has kept and developed in-house expertise in this field, it has come on stream four years after getting the go-ahead, and two months ahead of schedule.

Development costs are high, at £7.5 billion, but the break-even oil price of $20 per barrel compares favourably with Brent crude, currently trading at around $60 per barrel. When production is at peak, cost will be below $2 per barrel. These are eye-watering sums, but since it is free of EU shackles the Norwegian state is the major investor. Norway has ensured that its people are the main beneficiaries, both in terms of jobs and affordable and reliable energy. Seventy per cent of linked contracts have gone to Norwegian companies, a marked contrast to the outsourcing commonplace in Britain.

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