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Statoil CFO warns of 'dire' energy industry

The CFO of Statoil has defended the company's plans to slash spending, a day after Norway's central bank warned of a 10 percent drop in oil investment.

Torgrim Reitan said that despite Statoil's reduction in capital expenditure (capex), the company was still investing at record levels.

"This is not putting the brakes on, this is about growing slower than what we had said earlier," he told CNBC.

Read MoreOil poses 'big challenges' for Norway: Central bank

"We are prioritizing in our investment opportunities and streamlining the way we are investing. It is not stepping on the brakes, we are taking the foot a bit off the accelerator."

Kristian Helgesen | Bloomberg | Getty Images

On Thursday, Norway's central bank said oil investments could fall 10 percent in 2015, and warned that it might cut interest rates in an effort to boost the economy. The Norwegian krone fell sharply against the euro as a result. The oil industry accounts for a fifth of Norway's economy.

In February, Statoil – one of the industry's top spenders - said capex would be reduced by 8 percent from previous estimates. As a result, it plans to invest around $20 billion per year between 2014 and 2016.

"This is about doing things differently. The situation in the industry is actually quite dire," Reitan said. "Returns have dropped and we have become much more capital intensive. We need to work differently, and that's what we are doing."

Despite this uncertain outlook for Norway's energy industry, Reitan added that he was very optimistic about the country, saying it is in a "very good position from most angles".

"We need to take a very long term position on oil and gas industry," he said.

"Meaning, stable framework conditions. We need to prioritize exploration so we can address post-2020, and see that this continues to be a premium oil and gas region of the world."

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