Norway's parliament has agreed to give additional tax breaks to the oil industry on top of those proposed by the minority government in a bid to spur investment and protect jobs, the ruling Conservative Party said on Monday.
Equinor and other oil firms, hit by low crude prices as demand faltered amid the COVID-19 pandemic, had argued the government's plan to postpone tax payments of 100 billion Norwegian crowns ($10.8 billion) was insufficient.
Conservative Prime Minister Erna Solberg had warned against giving more generous terms, arguing it could lead to investment that did not yield sufficient return, but relented in the end amid opposition pressure and industry lobbying.
Terms agreed by parliament will temporarily shield a greater portion of income from taxes, making it more profitable to invest and thus potentially save jobs both at oil firms and at yards building platforms and other equipment, negotiators said.
Norway is western Europe's biggest oil and natural gas producer, representing about 2% of global crude output.
($1 = 9.2474 Norwegian crowns)
(Reporting by Nerijus Adomaitis, editing by Terje Solsvik and Victoria Klesty)