The head of the Norwegian central bank says the return on the Petroleum Fund is likely to exceed the cash from the country’s petroleum activities in around 15 years.
“The return on the Petroleum Fund will to some extent make up for the fall in petroleum revenues in the period ahead,” said Norges Bank governor Svein Gjedrem. “In about 15 years, the return on the fund may exceed the cash flow from petroleum activities.”
According to the bank, the government’s latest forecast for the size of the fund is NKR955bn (E125.3bn) at the end of 2003. For the most recent period for which figures are available, the third quarter of 2002, the fund posted a 5.1% decline to NKR603.6bn (E79.2bn). This figure includes NKR37.6bn (E4.9bn) in capital inflows.
Gjedrem told the bank’s supervisory council that Norway’s position as an international investor may eventually overshadow its position as an oil and gas producer.
Norway is in a phase where petroleum wealth is being invested at home and abroad – to safeguard its petroleum wealth and maintain a broad-based business sector.