The Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy has approved 19 oil and gas projects on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS), which are expected to see total investments of more than NOK200bn ($18.5bn).

According to the ministry, the greenlighted projects include new developments, further development of existing fields, as well as investments in projects for increased yield from current fields.

The ministry stated that the global oil demand plummeted significantly in the first six months of 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, casting a cloud of uncertainty over future trends. To facilitate planned investments by oil companies, the Storting, which is the supreme legislature of Norway, enacted temporary amendments to the Petroleum Tax Act in June 2020.

Projects in the North Sea that have been approved by the ministry are all operated by Aker BP. These include the NOK115bn ($10.6bn) development of the Yggdrasil area, the NOK50bn ($4.6bn) Valhall PWP and Fenris development, and the NOK9bn ($830m) Symraut seabed facility.

In the Norwegian Sea, Equinor has been granted approval for the NOK14.8bn ($1.4bn) Irpa project, and the NOK4.7bn ($430m) Verdande subsea development.

Wintershall Dea, in the same sea, has secured the Norwegian government’s approvals for the NOK8bn ($740m) Dvalin Nord development and the NOK4bn ($370m) Maria field.

OMV has been given approval for the NOK9bn ($830m) development of the Berling field in the Norwegian Sea.

Aker BP also won approvals for the development of the Alve Nord, Idun Nord, and Ørn fields in the Norwegian Sea under the Skarv satellite project with an investment of around NOK17bn ($1.6bn).

Additionally, the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy has given its nod to projects involving investment decisions for enhanced output at current fields, specifically the Solveig Phase 2 and Andvare.

Norwegian Oil and Energy Minister Terje Aasland said: “These are projects that contribute to continued high and stable production from the Norwegian continental shelf, and to employment and value creation for the whole of society. We are further developing the petroleum business so that jobs and large incomes are created for the community.”