Oil and gas regulation in Norway: overview

A Q&A guide to oil and gas regulation in Norway.

This Q&A gives a high level overview of the domestic oil and gas sector, rights to oil and gas, health safety and the environment, sale and trade in oil and gas, tax and enforcement of regulation. It covers transfer of rights; transportation by pipeline; environmental impact assessments; decommissioning; waste regulations and proposals for reform.

To compare answers across multiple jurisdictions, visit the energy and natural resources Oil and gas regulation Country Q&A tool.

This Q&A is part of the global guide to energy and natural resources. For a full list of content visit www.practicallaw.com/energy-guide.

Thomas K Svensen, Sandra Simonsen and Kristian M Lind, Advokatfirmaet Wiersholm AS
Contents

Domestic sector

1. Describe the domestic sector and policy for oil and gas, including liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Domestic industrial production

Petroleum activities in Norway began in the 1960s. The Norwegian petroleum resources are located offshore on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS). Petroleum activities have been crucial for Norway's financial growth and in financing the welfare state. It has added more than NOK9,000 billion to the country's GDP and represented around 23% of the overall GDP figure in 2012.

Currently there are 76 fields in production and these fields produce 1.9 million barrels of oil per day and 111 billion standard cubic metres (Sm3) of gas according to figures from the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy (MPE). Following several years of decline in petroleum production it is now expected to increase slightly in the coming years. So far, around 44% of the estimated total recoverable resources on the Norwegian continental shelf have been produced. The investment level in petroleum sector in Norway has been high in recent years, and in 2012 more than NOK175 billion was invested. The operating costs in 2012 amounted to NOK60 billion and are expected to remain high.

The import/export market

Norway is a typical producer country as internal consumption of oil and gas is very small compared to exports. Norway ranks as the world's seventh-largest oil exporter and the 14th-largest oil producer. In 2011, Norway was the world's third- largest gas exporter and sixth-largest gas producer. The oil is mainly transported to the markets by ship, while gas is shipped through an extensive gas transportation system to the UK, Germany, Belgium and France. In 2012, petroleum and pipeline services represented more than half of Norway's export value at around NOK 600 billion.

Domestic market structure

Licences to explore for and produce petroleum from the NCS are in most cases awarded to a group of pre-qualified oil and gas companies through licensing rounds. The group form joint ventures governed by model joint operating agreements. There are currently around 70 oil and gas companies on the NCS.

The state participates in these joint ventures both directly and indirectly. The direct ownership is established through a system called the state's direct financial interest (SDFI) where the state-owned Petoro AS manages the ownership interests. The size of the ownership interests vary from field to field. The state participates in the joint ventures on similar terms as private parties; it covers its share of investments and costs, and receives a corresponding share of produced petroleum. In addition, the state owns 67% of Statoil ASA which is the largest operator on the NCS.

Government policy objectives

In 2011, the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy (MPE) presented the oil and gas white paper: Norway's petroleum activities - an industry for the future. The main objective for Norway's petroleum policy is to facilitate long-term profitable production of oil and gas. To achieve this goal, the Norwegian government will continue its strategy of active resource management. In this regard, the four following areas are highlighted as important:

  • Increasing recovery from producing fields.

  • Developing commercial/profitable discoveries.

  • Exploring in open acreage.

  • Opening of new areas.

Current market trends

The current trend on the NCS is characterised by optimism. The estimated resource base was increased in 2013 and several new discoveries have been made in the recent years, including the Johan Sverdrup in the North Sea which is described as a new giant located in one of the most mature areas on the NCS.

Participation in the latest licensing rounds which have been concentrated on new areas in the Barents Sea has been large and the oil majors have shown a renewed interest in the NCS.

The 2011 agreement between Norway and Russia on the marine demarcation line in the Barents Sea and the Arctic Ocean has further opened up a large new area for petroleum activities and the government has stated that this new area looks promising from a resource management perspective.

 
2. What percentage of domestic energy needs is met by oil and gas?

Norway's energy consumption is fully met by domestic energy production. In effect, all of domestic energy needs are met by electricity produced from hydroelectric power plants and internal consumption of oil and gas is very low. Due to the low consumption there are to the authors' knowledge no official statistics showing the percentage of domestic energy needs met by oil and gas.

 

Regulation

Regulatory bodies

3. Who regulates the extraction of oil and gas?

The Storting (Parliament) is responsible for the framework of Norwegian petroleum activities, including:

  • Passing legislation and adopting propositions.

  • Discussing and responding to white papers related to petroleum activities.

Major development projects and matters of public importance must be approved by the Storting, which also supervises the government and the public administration. In Norway, the government holds executive power over petroleum policy and is responsible to the Storting.

In applying the policy, the government is supported by the ministries and subordinate directorates and agencies. Responsibility for executing the various roles within the petroleum policy is shared between the:

  • Ministry of Petroleum and Energy (MPE), which is responsible for resource management and the sector as a whole.

  • Ministry of Labour, which is responsible for health, the working environment and safety.

  • Ministry of Finance, which is responsible for state revenues.

  • Ministry of Environment, which is responsible for the external environment.

  • Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD), which is administratively subordinate to the MPE. The NPD is an important advisory body to the MPE, and plays a major role in the management of resources.

  • Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA), which is administratively subordinate to the Ministry of Labour. The PSA has regulatory responsibility for safety, emergency preparedness and the working environment in petroleum activities.

The organisation of the petroleum sector also includes:

  • Petoro AS, a state-owned company which manages the Norwegian state's direct financial interest on the state's behalf.

  • Statoil ASA, in which the state, through the MPE, has a 67% ownership stake.

  • Gassco AS, an independent state-owned company that operates the integrated system for transporting natural gas from the Norwegian continental shelf to other European countries.

See box, The regulatory authorities.

 

The regulatory regime

4. Describe the regulatory regime that applies to oil and gas exploration and production, including the key legislation and features of the regime.

The rights to the petroleum resources on the Norwegian continental shelf are vested in the Norwegian state. The regulatory regime for Norwegian petroleum activities is based on a licensing system, under which companies are granted rights to explore for and produce petroleum. The companies become owners of the oil and gas that they produce.

The general legal basis for petroleum activities is contained in the Act of 29 November 1996 No.72 pertaining to petroleum activities (Petroleum Act), which provides the overall regulations and requirements for:

  • The award of licences.

  • The exploration phase.

  • Field development and infrastructure.

  • Joint activity and unitisation of fields and discoveries within different licences.

  • Decommissioning and cessation of petroleum activities.

In addition, the Petroleum Act contains a number of provisions on more specific issues, including:

  • Transfers and mortgages of licences.

  • Insurance requirements.

  • Liability for pollution.

  • Security as approved by the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy (MPE) for fulfilment of the obligations which the licensee has undertaken, as well as for possible liability in connection with petroleum activities.

More detailed requirements are included in the Petroleum Regulations of 27 June 1997. In addition, there are several regulations dealing with, among other things:

  • Health, environment and safety.

  • Scientific research for natural resources.

  • Norm price fixing (see Question 22).

The Act of 13 June 1975 No. 35 relating to the taxation of subsea petroleum deposits (Petroleum Taxation Act) sets out the legal basis for the special tax regime that applies to companies operating within the oil and gas industry on the Norwegian continental shelf.

 

Rights to oil and gas

Ownership

5. How are rights to oil and gas held, and who holds those rights?

The rights to the petroleum resources on the Norwegian continental shelf are vested in the Norwegian state. Time-limited licences to explore for and produce oil and gas on the shelf are granted under the Petroleum Act by the King in Council (see Question 7).

 

Nature of oil and gas rights

6. What are the key features of the leases, licences or concessions which are issued under the regulatory regime? Can these rights be leased by the right-holder?

Lease/licence/concession term

A petroleum production licence gives the licensees in the licence period:

  • The exclusive right to exploration, exploration drilling and production of petroleum deposits in areas covered by the licence.

  • Ownership of the petroleum which is produced.

A licence is awarded for an initial period of up to ten years. A licensee who has fulfilled the work commitment and the other conditions in the production licence can demand that the licence is extended after the expiry of the initial period. The extension period is set out in the individual production licence. Generally, it will be up to 30 years, but may in certain cases be up to 50 years.

Fees

A handling fee of NOK109,000 is currently imposed during the application process, to cover the cost of processing the application (see Question 7). Certain direct and indirect taxes apply during the licence period (see Question 9).

Liability

The licence holder is responsible for complying with the terms of its licence, and is also generally liable under petroleum law, environmental law, health and safety law, and so on.

Restrictions

A production licence can be granted to a body corporate established in accordance with Norwegian legislation and registered in the Norwegian Register of Business Enterprises, insofar as other requirements are not applicable pursuant to international agreements. Production licences can also be granted to a physical person domiciled in a state of the European Economic Area (EEA).

 
7. How are such leases, licences or concessions awarded?

A petroleum production licence can be obtained by either:

  • Acquiring a participating interest from a licensee.

  • Applying and being awarded a participating interest in a petroleum production licence in a licensing round. Licensing rounds are announced and conducted by the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy (MPE) and production licences are awarded by the King in Council.

There are two types of licensing rounds on the Norwegian continental shelf:

  • Ordinary rounds, which typically take place every second year and concentrate on less mature areas.

  • Awards in pre-defined areas (APA), which take place annually and cover mature areas where the geology and infrastructure are known.

Production licences are awarded on the basis of objective, non-discriminatory and published criteria. The most important criteria are:

  • Relevant technical expertise.

  • Satisfactory financial capacity.

  • Geological understanding of the area in question.

  • Experience.

There is no signing fee, nor are there other expenses except a handling fee of NOK109,000, which is intended to cover the cost of processing the application for a production licence (see Question 6, Fees).

The government will in each licensing round consider whether the state will directly participate in a petroleum production licence. However, if the state decides to participate it does so as an owner on similar terms as the other owners, and covers its proportionate part of the costs and receives the corresponding portion of produced petroleum.

The 23rd ordinary licensing round is currently in progress with a primary focus area in the south-eastern Barents Sea.

 

Transfer of rights

8. How are oil and gas rights transferred? Are there any restrictions on the disposal of interests?

A participating interest in a petroleum production licence can be transferred. The parties are free to agree to transfer the interest, and can agree the terms of the transaction. However, a transaction is subject to approval from the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy (MPE) and the Ministry of Finance. The same requirements that are used when awarding licences apply in relation to that approval (see Question 6, Lease/licence/concession term). In addition, where a participating interest is transferred, the state has a pre-emption right to take over the interest, although this is generally not used.

 

Tax

9. What payments, such as taxes or royalties, are payable by oil and gas interest holders to the government?

The Norwegian state's income from petroleum activities derives from:

  • Taxes paid by companies operating within the petroleum industry.

  • The state's direct and indirect participation in petroleum activities (see Question 5).

Corporate taxation

Petroleum activities on the Norwegian continental shelf are subject to the general corporate taxation regime in Norway. In addition, due to the extraordinary profits associated with the production of oil and gas on the continental shelf, a special petroleum tax is levied on these activities. The normal corporate tax rate is 27%, which is the same as onshore. The special petroleum tax rate is 51%. In calculating the basis for both types of taxes, investments are depreciated on a straight line over six years. Deductions are available for costs related to exploration, research, development, financing, operations and removal. Consolidation between fields is possible.

To shield normal returns from the special petroleum tax rate, an extra deduction, called an uplift, is available. This amounts to 22% of the investment (5.5% per year of four years).

Companies that are not currently taxable (for example, they are not receiving income) can carry forward deficits and uplifts with interest. Such companies can also apply for a cash refund of tax value for exploration expenses, which has become an important way of funding exploration activities for new entrants on the Norwegian continental shelf.

Indirect taxes

The indirect taxes are:

  • VAT.

  • Environmental taxes, including carbon dioxide tax.

  • Area fees.

The area fee is regarded as "rent" for the licence area and is intended to ensure that awarded areas are explored efficiently. It is currently:

  • NOK34,000 per square kilometre during the first year.

  • NOK68,000 the second year.

  • NOK137,000 from the third year onwards.

 
10. Does the government derive any other economic benefits from oil and gas exploration and production?

The Norwegian state derives economic benefit directly and indirectly from petroleum activities, partly through its direct participation (managed by Petoro AS) and partly through its shareholding in the listed entity Statoil ASA. No royalty is charged for petroleum activities.

According to the model joint operation agreement, each of the participants is obliged to pay the direct taxes charged to him. All taxes, duties and levies by the authorities with regards to the joint operations, except income and capital taxes, may be charged to the joint account and paid by the joint venture parties in proportion to their respective participating interests.

 
11. What taxes and duties apply on import and export of oil and gas?

VAT

VAT is potentially chargeable on all supplies of goods and services made in Norway and its territorial waters. Both Norwegian and foreign resident companies must register for VAT if the value of their taxable supplies exceeds the VAT registration threshold (NOK50,000). Where a VAT registered entity incurs input VAT on goods and supplies it purchases, such input VAT is generally recoverable to the extent that the entity makes taxable supplies for VAT purposes.

The normal VAT rate in Norway is 25%. This also includes supply of oil and gas. Import VAT is generally due on imports, although this may be suspended or deferred using a Customs Duty relief.

Export of goods and services from Norway are exempt from VAT. Exemption for sale of goods must be documented with the sales document, customs declaration and certificate of exportation.

Customs duty

All goods imported into Norway, including fuels, are potentially liable to customs duty. Any customs duty due is payable at the time of importation of goods except when entered for warehousing or cleared on remission of duty under a specified relief regime.

Excise duty

Excise duty generally applies to supplies of fuel and other hydrocarbon products in Norway at the point that such products are either imported to Norway or removed from a tax warehouse. The term tax warehouse means premises where excise goods are produced, processed, held, received or despatched under duty suspension arrangements by an authorised warehouse keeper and includes mineral oil producers' premises and mineral oil warehouses.

 

Transportation by pipeline

12. What regulatory requirements apply to the construction and operation of pipelines?

A licence issued in accordance with the Petroleum Act is required for the construction and operation of oil and gas pipelines on the Norwegian continental shelf. Usually, a licensee holding a participating interest in a production licence will apply for a licence to construct and operate pipelines when submitting an application to develop a new petroleum discovery. Under the Petroleum Act the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy (MPE) can, however, also grant a licence to install and operate pipelines and facilities separately. These licences can be granted for a fixed period of time, but can also be given for an indefinite period, and may be extended by the MPE.

As a starting point, the MPE applies the same considerations as for oil and gas production licences when considering applications (technical expertise, financial capacity, and experience) (see Question 7). However, the MPE has stated that the required qualifications may be different for owners of transportation systems than for oil and gas companies, and the assessment depends on the type of tasks that the licensee shall perform under the relevant licence.

Participating interests in infrastructure can be transferred in the same manner as petroleum production licences (see Question 13).

Most of the infrastructure for transportation and processing of natural gas produced on the Norwegian continental shelf has been merged into an unincorporated joint venture called Gassled which is currently owned by six exploration and production (E&P) companies and five pure infrastructure owners. The Gassled pipeline system is operated by an independent, state-owned company called Gassco AS (see Question 3). New pipelines that are subject to third party access will, as a starting point, be merged into the Gassled system (see Question 13).

 
13. Is there a system of third party access to pipelines and other infrastructure?

The Petroleum Act establishes a third party access regime to pipelines and other infrastructure. The relevant parties agree the terms for such third party access. The Ministry of Petroleum and Energy (MPE) can, however, decide that a third party is entitled to use another licensee's installations and other facilities and provide tariffs and other terms for that use, including if the parties fail to agree within a reasonable time. However, this forced third party access is subject to the MPE finding that the use of the asset by a third party does not unreasonably restrict the needs of the owner or other users of the infrastructure. Tariffs and other terms are set and may be subsequently revised by the MPE on the basis of:

  • Resource management considerations.

  • Providing the owner of the facility with a reasonable profit, taking into account, among others, investments and risks.

For the Gassled transportation and processing infrastructure, a regulated third party access system has been established (see Question 12). Under this system, processing and transportation capacity is made available for booking in auctions. The tariffs are set by the government in the Tariff Regulations and the transportation agreements are standardised.

 

Health, safety and the environment

Health and safety

14. Describe the health and safety regime that applies to oil and gas exploration and extraction, and transportation by pipeline.

Exploration

Petroleum activities combine elements from various other activities, for example, elements of industrial as well as maritime operations and aspects of the working environment. For this reason, there is no single act that exclusively covers the health and safety aspects of petroleum activities. At least three distinctly different acts are relevant for offshore health and safety:

  • Petroleum Act.

  • Working Environment Act.

  • Ship Safety Act.

The overall provision on offshore health and safety is set out in the Petroleum Act stating that petroleum activities must be conducted in a manner to enable a high level of safety to be maintained and further developed in accordance with technological developments. More detailed provisions are set out in a general regulation, called Rammeforskriften (Framework Regulation) that establishes the basic requirements for organising and carrying out petroleum activities. Further details are set out in four additional regulations covering specific areas of petroleum activities. In addition, the regulations generally refer to standards and guidelines that contain acceptable methods for complying with the various requirements, for example:

  • NORSOK standards.

  • Standards of the American Petroleum Institute.

  • ISO standards.

The Norwegian health and safety regime for the petroleum sector is function-oriented, meaning that the legislation specifies what is to be achieved, without stating the method for fulfilling the requirements. The most important pre-conditions for the licensees to comply with are:

  • Basic knowledge of the requirements.

  • Sufficient management systems to define the necessary methods to be used to achieve the requirements and to control compliance with them.

One of the core elements is the "see-to-it duty" which is the duty of all licensees to ensure that the licensee itself and everyone who carries out work on its behalf complies with requirements set out in the health and safety legislation.

Non-compliance with health and safety legislation is penalised by daily fines. In the event of serious or repeated violations of the regulations, the government can revoke a licence granted under the Petroleum Act.

Extraction

The health and safety framework applies to all phases of petroleum activities.

Transportation

The health and safety framework applies to all phases of petroleum activities.

 

Environmental impact assessments (EIAs)

15. Is an EIA required before extracting or processing oil and gas?

An EIA is required by law for:

  • Opening of new areas for petroleum activities. Before the opening of new areas for petroleum activities, the authorities must evaluate the various interests involved in the relevant area, including:

    • assessing the impact of the petroleum activities on trade, industry and the environment;

    • possible risks of pollution;

    • any economic and social effects resulting from the petroleum activities.

    The MPE decides on the administrative procedure to be followed in each individual case.

  • In connection with developing an oil and gas field and as a part of submitting a plan for development and operation of an oil or gas field (PDO). The assessment is carried out by the operator of the relevant licence.

 
16. What are the different stages of the EIA?

Programme for environmental impact assessment

Before submitting a plan for development and operation of an oil or gas field (PDO) of a petroleum deposit, the licensees must present to the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy (MPE) a proposed programme for environmental impact assessment. The proposal must give a short description of, among others:

  • The development.

  • Relevant development solutions.

  • The likely impact on other commercial activities and the environment.

The licensees must forward the proposed impact assessment programme for consultation to the:

  • Authorities concerned.

  • Industrial organisations, such as the:

    • Norwegian Oil and Gas Association;

    • Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise (Næringslivets Hovedorganisasjon);

    • Federation of Norwegian Industries.

The licensees must set a reasonable time limit, of at least six weeks, for submitting comments. The MPE then decides on the content of the final programme for environmental impact assessment on the basis of the proposal and the comments on that proposal. In exceptional cases, the MPE may decide to open up the programme for public consultation.

Environmental impact assessment

The environmental impact assessment must be prepared on the basis of the prescribed impact assessment programme and be submitted to the MPE at the latest at the same time as a description of the development. The impact assessment must also be forwarded for comments to the authorities' concerned, industrial organisations and announced in the Norwegian Gazette.

The MPE will make the final judgement on the EIA and consider whether to set conditions to reduce and compensate for significant adverse effects.

 

Environmental permits

17. Is there a permit regime for environmental damage or emissions produced during the extraction or processing of oil and gas?

There is a comprehensive environmental and climate policy that applies during all phases of petroleum activities, and includes permit requirements in the following areas:

  • CO2 emission. Burning of gas in flares beyond what is necessary to ensure normal operations is not permitted without approval from the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy (MPE) (Petroleum Act).

  • NOX emission. Emission permits during the operations phase can be granted by the Climate and Pollution Agency (Klif) (Pollution Control Act).

  • Produced water discharge. Oil and chemical discharges from produced water can have local effects close to facilities, and are regulated nationally through discharge permits granted by Klif (Pollution Control Act).

  • Chemical discharge. Chemical discharges to sea are only allowed if a discharge permit is granted by Klif (Pollution Control Act).

  • Oil discharge. Oil discharges to sea are only allowed if a discharge permit is granted by Klif (Pollution Control Act).

 

Waste

18. What are the regulations on the disposal of waste products resulting from oil or gas extraction or processing?

Disposal of waste products is regulated by the Norwegian Pollution Act. The different types of waste must be classified and transported to the correct type of onshore waste disposal facility. Hazardous waste and industrial waste must be reported to the authorities. As the disposal of waste can cause pollution, the waste disposal facility must have a licence to receive waste products under Chapter 3 of the Pollution Act.

The waste disposal facility must pay a fee to the Treasury to cover the costs related to procedures and control activities.

 

Flares and vents

19. Are flare and vent regulations in place?

Gas flaring and venting is regulated by the Petroleum Act. The level of gas flaring and venting cannot exceed the quantities determined by the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy (MPE).

In relation to flaring, the burning of any kind of petroleum in excess of the quantities needed for normal operational safety is prohibited, unless approved by the MPE. The gas flaring permits can be divided into three different categories:

  • Permits required in connection with the start of production in a new field.

  • Permits required for regular operations.

  • Permits required in connection with operational difficulties (that is, permits connected to temporary difficulties with the export or injection of gas into the reservoir).

The gas flaring permits are granted in the form of a total amount of flared gas per quarter and this amount is limited to what is required for safety reasons to achieve normal operation. For new developments and fields, the gas flaring permits are issued on a monthly basis.

 

Decommissioning

20. What are the decommissioning obligations and liabilities that arise?

The licensees must provide a decommissioning plan to the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy (MPE) before the petroleum activities end (Petroleum Act). The MPE has a wide discretionary power to decide what happens to the installations, facilities and pipelines after the end of petroleum activities, including:

  • Further use in petroleum activities.

  • Other uses.

  • Complete or partial removal.

  • Abandonment.

In practice, offshore facilities are usually required to be removed. The Norwegian state can also choose to take over the installations or facilities.

The licensees and owners of the installation, facilities and pipelines carry the costs related to the decommissioning and are jointly liable for any damage or inconvenience caused by the decommissioning, whether caused by wilful misconduct or by negligence. If a participating interest in a licence has been transferred prior to decommissioning, the seller, together with any prior seller, will continue to be liable on a secondary basis for the decommissioning obligations towards the Norwegian state and the other licensees. If the licensee partially or fully fails to meet its decommissioning obligations, the MPE may hold the seller liable.

 

Sale and trade

21. How is trade in oil and gas usually completed?

Natural gas is sold by producers to buyers in the UK and Continental Europe. Norway currently supplies 20% of the European gas consumption. The Snøhvit facility in the Barents Sea delivers LNG to multiple countries, including Japan and South Korea. Gas sales have traditionally been based on long term contracts, however spot sales are increasing.

Oil trading consists of physical oil trades, as well as futures trading and over-the-counter derivatives. Participants in both the physical and paper crude oil markets include producers, refiners and independent trading houses.

 
22. Are oil and gas prices regulated?

Oil and gas prices are not regulated in Norway. However, to calculate the taxable income for oil companies in Norway, the Petroleum Price Board (PPB) sets tax reference prices, also known as norm prices. The main principle for setting norm prices is that the norm price should reflect the price that could have been obtained between independent parties. Specific regulations govern the procedures for setting norm prices.

The PPB meets every quarter to set norm prices for the previous quarter. Generally, each crude type is allocated a specific norm price. The PPB collects information from a variety of sources, including companies operating on the Norwegian continental shelf. The PPB also has meetings with the companies before the final norm price is set. Companies can also appeal the PPB's decision to the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy (MPE).

In cases where the PPB does not set norm prices, the actual obtained sale price will be the tax reference price. This applies to some crudes and natural gas liquids. For natural gas the actual price is used for tax purposes.

 

Enforcement of regulation

23. What are the regulator's enforcement powers?

Orders

In the event of serious or repeated violations of acts, regulations, licence conditions or orders issued, the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy (MPE) can impose a temporary suspension of the licensee's activities or withdraw the licence.

A vessel or aircraft which violates provisions or orders issued under the Petroleum Act can be ordered to leave a particular area (for example a safety zone or the Norwegian continental shelf in its entirety), or seized and brought to a Norwegian port.

Fines and penalties

In relation to orders issued under the Petroleum Act, the authority which has issued the order (for example, the MPE or Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA)) can impose a fine for each day that passes after expiry of the time limit set for implementation of the order, until it has been complied with.

Notice of a fine must be given by registered letter or by another equally reliable method. An order to pay a fine is regarded as grounds for enforcement of seizure of property to secure funds to pay the fine.

Fines or imprisonment for up to three months can be imposed for wilful or negligent violation of provisions or decisions issued under the Petroleum Act. In particularly serious circumstances, imprisonment for up to two years can be imposed.

Other

There are no other enforcement powers in the event of a violation of regulation.

 
24. Is there a right of appeal against the regulator's decisions?

Generally, a governmental regulatory decision can be appealed to the administrative agency that is immediately superior to the decision-making administrative agency (for example, appeals from the decisions of the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy (MPE) to the King in Council, and appeals from decisions of the Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA) to the Ministry of Labour) (see Question 3). The timeframe within which the appeal must be made is three weeks from the time the regulator's decision was received by the concerned party.

Any regulatory decision can be made subject to legal proceedings in the ordinary courts. The intensity of the courts review depends on the nature of the decision and if it is based on the regulator's discretion or not. The general limitation period for claims is three years from the time the claim arose.

 

Reform

25. Are there plans for changes to the legal and regulatory framework?

The authors are not aware of any other plans for important changes to the legal and regulatory framework for petroleum activities

 

The regulatory authorities

Ministry of Petroleum and Energy (MPE)

Address. Akersgata 59
Postboks 8148 Dep
0033 Oslo
Norway
T +47 22 24 90 90
F +47 415 73 500
E postmottak@oed.dep.no
W www.regjeringen.no/nb/dep/oed.html?id=750

Main responsibilities. The MPE is responsible for ensuring a co-ordinated and coherent energy policy.

Ministry of Labour

Address. Akersgata 64
Postboks 8019 Dep
0030 Oslo
Norway
T +47 22 24 90 90
F +47 916 73 519
Epostmottak@ad.dep.no
W www.regjeringen.no/nb/dep/ad.html?id=165

Main responsibilities. The Ministry of Labour is responsible for health, the working environment and safety.

Ministry of Finance

Address. Akersgata 40
Postboks 8008 Dep
0030 Oslo
Norway
T +47 22 24 90 90
F +47 916 73 514
E postmottak@fin.dep.no
W www.regjeringen.no/nb/dep/fin.html?id=216

Main responsibilities. The Ministry of Finance is responsible for the petroleum tax legislation.

National Petroleum Directorate (NPD)

Address. Professor Olav Hanssens vei 10
PB 600, 4003
Stavanger
Norway
T +47 51 87 60 00
E postboks@npd.no
W www.npd.no/

Main responsibilities. The NPD is administratively subordinate to the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy (MPE). It plays a major role in the management of resources and is an important advisory body for the MPE.

Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA)

Address. Professor Olav Hanssens vei 10
PB 599, 4003
Stavanger
Norway
T +47 51 87 60 50
F +47 51 87 60 80
E postboks@npd.no
W www.ptil.no/main-page/category9.html

Main responsibilities. The PSA is administratively subordinate to the Ministry of Labour. It has the regulatory responsibility for safety, emergency preparedness and the working environment in petroleum activities.



Online resources

National Petroleum Directorate

W www.npd.no/en/Regulations/

Description. The NPD website includes office translations of the most important regulations that apply to petroleum activities. Other relevant regulations for petroleum activities can also be found on the websites of the respective authorities, or on Lovdata (Norwegian laws in English). Official translations of the legislation do not exist.

Petroleum Safety Authority

W www.ptil.no/regulations/acts-and-regulations-article8546-87.html?lang=en_US

Description. The PSA website provides English office translations of the HSE regulations with guidelines. Official translations of the legislation do not exist.


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