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Most likely they will succeed in Policy towards the Depletion of North Sea Oil 29 reducing social and economic change. But in the process they will incur costs. If, for example, the world price of crude oil were to rise only slowly or to fall in the 1980s, the Norwegians would lose some of the benefits they could have had from earlier production. During the period when the major Norwegian sector discoveries were made -from the finding of Ekofisk in 1969 to the present -the prospects have appeared to be for substantial appreciation in the price of crude oil at a rate in excess of forgone interest and this may have prompted the Norwegian Government to believe, like the members of OPEC, that oil in the ground is a preferable investment to money in the bank.

D. Moody, 'An Estimate of the World's Recoverable Crude Oil Resource', 9th World Petroleum Congress, Tokyo, May 1975. North Sea Oil and the World Economy 17 10. For estimates of oil and other fossil-fuel resources and the difficulty of assessing resources, see Robinson, The Energy 'Crisis' and British Coal (London: Institute of Economic Affairs, 1974); and, Robinson, 'The Depletion of Energy Resources', in D. W. ), The Economics of Natural Resource Depletion (London: Macmillan, 1975). A very good survey of world energy resources and the problems of estimating them is in D.

Though it is extremely difficult to conduct rigorous empirical tests of theories based on expectations, the hy- 36 North Sea Oil in the Future pothesis that it was a rise in p relative to i which was behind the fundamental change in the oil market in the early 1970s seems to have a great deal of explanatory power, though there were also political changes which reinforced the influence of the economic variables. The p = i equilibrium condition holds whatever the market form, provided the producer is a maximiser of expected NPV.

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