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Norway’s Gas Bonanza Set to Boost Already Gigantic Oil Fund

(Bloomberg) -- Norway’s windfall natural gas revenue drove the nation’s exports to a record last year in a boon for its $1.3 trillion sovereign wealth fund.

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The Nordic country, western Europe’s largest fossil-fuel exporter, boosted its sales of goods abroad to 2.6 trillion kroner ($263 billion) last year, a jump of 87%, Statistics Norway said in a website statement on Monday. Natural gas exports almost tripled to 1.36 trillion kroner, while crude oil sales and fish exports also hit all time-highs.

Government revenues from oil and gas activities are transferred to Norway’s wealth fund, created in the 1990s to invest the country’s petroleum revenues abroad. It’s now the world’s biggest single beneficial owner of shares. The help from windfall gains is coming at a time the investor is facing record losses due to the fallout from surging inflation, global interest-rate hikes and the war in Ukraine.

The government’s total net cash flow from the oil and gas industry is estimated to rise to 1.38 trillion kroner this year.

Demand for Norway’s fuels has surged in the wake of Europe’s worst energy crisis in decades, exacerbated by Russia’s gas supply cuts in retaliation for European sanctions over the war in Ukraine. Gas output from the Norwegian continental shelf rose by about 8% last year, while the government expects flows to stay near record levels in the next four to five years, it said earlier this month.

--With assistance from Joel Rinneby.

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