Norwegian government open to continued oil exploration

Norway's Oil and Energy Minister Terje Aasland says that, in the long term, in light of the current energy and security situation in Europe, there are increased opportunities related to oil exploration in the Barents Sea.

Oil transport
Norway has become the largest exporter of gas to Europe after Russia cut off its gas supply. Photo by Emmaus Studio / Unsplash

The Norwegian government has an agreement with the Socialist Left Party (SV) that the 26th licensing round for oil exploration will not be launched this year.

Still, Minister Aasland told the newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) that he is open to issuing a call for new blocks next year.

“The Norwegian continental shelf is much more attractive now. The Norwegian continental shelf plays a much larger, more important role for European energy security (now) than ever before,” Aasland noted.

The war in Ukraine

Norway became the largest gas exporter to Europe after Russia cut off its gas supply.

“I believe that the opportunity in the Barents Sea in a long-term perspective has been strengthened through the situation that we are experiencing.

“The need for gas has not diminished with the situation that has unfolded with the war in Ukraine…

“I feel that the European Union (EU) wants Norway to develop its oil and gas activities further, (so that it can) be a stable and long-term supplier of gas,” Aasland added.

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What happens if you go into debt in Norway?

In Norway, personal financial responsibility is highly emphasised, and – despite what you may hear – debt is not taken lightly, as going into debt can have serious consequences.

What happens if you go into debt in Norway?

It’s entirely natural for most people living in Norway to take on some level of debt at various points in their lives.

Generally speaking, it’s considered normal to finance significant life events like buying a home, as the relatively favourable terms offered by Norwegian banks make debt a manageable financial choice.

READ MORE: A beginner’s guide to buying a home in Norway

While Norway provides support systems and safety nets to help people manage their debt and get back on track financially, it’s important to take debt seriously, seek assistance when needed, and address financial challenges as soon as possible, as going into debt carries financial, legal, and personal consequences.

So, what happens when your debt starts to build up?

When you start accumulating debt, your first interaction will typically be with your creditor. They will contact you to discuss your debt and a potential way forward.

Maintaining open communication with creditors is crucial, as they may be willing to negotiate repayment terms and offer new repayment plans that can help you get out of a tight spot.

Know that Norway has a credit reporting system that keeps track of your credit history. So, falling behind on debt repayments can negatively impact your credit score (which banks use, for example, when you ask them for a mortgage offer).

READ MORE: How to get a better deal on interest rates from your Norwegian bank

A poor credit score can make securing future loans or credit cards challenging. Also, if you miss payments or default on loans, you will likely incur additional interest and fees.

Norwegian interest rates can be relatively high, so it’s important to address your debt issues promptly and talk to your creditor when you realise that you might encounter problems in servicing your debt.

How does debt collection work

An increasing number of people have problems repaying their debt or meeting their financial obligations.

According to the most recent figures for the first half of 2023 published by the Financial Supervisory Authority of Norway (Finanstilsynet), debt collection companies reported 1.8 billion kroner higher revenues in the first half of the year compared to the previous six-month period – an increase of 7 percent.

“The debt collection related to mortgages increased by over 15 percent, and debt collection against businesses increased by almost 14 percent,” the authorities wrote in their half-yearly report on reported debt collection figures.

If your debt remains unpaid, creditors may hire debt collection agencies to recover the owed amount.

These agencies can be persistent in their efforts to collect the debt and may employ various stress-inducing tactics, including phone calls, letters, and, in rare cases, legal action.

If you can avoid this hassle by proactively contacting your creditor, it’s advisable to do so.

In severe cases of unpaid debt, creditors can also take legal action against you. This may lead to wage garnishment (a portion of your earnings being withheld and paid directly to a creditor) or asset seizures to satisfy the debt.

However, legal action is typically a last resort and follows a court process, so hopefully, you’ll be able to address the issues before it comes to that.

Financial counselling, government assistance, and debt settlement

Seeking help from financial counsellors or debt advisors is a vital proactive step to manage debt before the situation escalates.

Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV) professionals can provide guidance on budgeting, debt settlement, and negotiating with creditors.

But, should the situation develop negatively, know that, unlike many other countries, Norway provides financial support through a robust welfare system.

So, if you’re unable to meet basic living expenses due to debt, you may be eligible for government assistance.

The Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV) can provide temporary financial aid to individuals in need, and you can find out more about the support they offer on their website.

Furthermore, Norway also offers debt settlement programs where people with substantial debt can work with their creditors to develop a repayment plan.

This plan typically involves lower interest rates and extended repayment terms. You can find more details on the NAV’s webpage.