The effects of government influence on development intensity in offshore petroleum provinces : Using past exploration trends as an indicator to measure political effects on growth in the Norwegian petroleum industry
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This thesis examines whether it is possible to measure the effects of government influence on the intensity in booked resources (development intensity) in offshore petroleum provinces. The energy policy and resource management literature generally attributes the rate of booked resources to technical and economical factors. This dissertation challenges those beliefs, arguing that government policy may have a significant impact on the said rate. By looking at the creaming phenomenon in past exploration trends, as a new way of measuring the effects of government influence, I attempt to bring original insights and nuances to the research field. Employing John S. Mill’s “Method of Difference” and the critical case study, I analyze how government influence has affected the rate of booked resources in the three Norwegian petroleum provinces. I have gathered data from the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate, previous research, and published reports. I have employed bargaining theory to deduce expectations for actor preference and behavior, while petroleum exploration theory has inspired my assumptions for the optimal development intensity. The dissertation finds that the Norwegian government, through its policy choices, has moderately affected the development intensities in the three relevant petroleum provinces. Since this political impact can be observed in the creaming curves, ceteris paribus, I conclude that such curves may indeed serve to measure the effects of government influence for the intensity in booked resources.