Western Europe’s top oil and gas producer, Norway, raised its natural gas production by nearly 6 percent in March compared to March 2021, exceeding forecasts by 6.3 percent, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) said on Thursday.
Norway’s gas has been in high demand since the autumn of last year, when the energy crisis in Europe led to skyrocketing prices of natural gas and electricity across the continent.
Not an EU member, Norway is an ally to the EU and part of Vladimir Putin’s list of “unfriendly nations,” so it has been trying to raise gas supply as much as possible in recent weeks.
Three weeks after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Norway’s major Equinor said that together with its partners and the Norwegian authorities, it will take new steps to meet gas demand in Europe.
Norway’s Ministry of Petroleum and Energy has allowed Equinor to increase production and exports from the Troll, Oseberg, and Heidrun gas fields through the summer months. Equinor has also decided to postpone turnarounds on the Oseberg field from May to September this year in order to accelerate production.
“Our focus is to maintain safe and efficient operations on our facilities, remaining a reliable supplier of energy to the markets in Europe in a highly challenging situation. In close dialogue with the authorities and our partners we are now taking steps to maintain the high production level from the winter,” Kjetil Hove, executive vice president, Exploration & Production Norway, said in the middle of March.
Moreover, Equinor now plans to restart the Hammerfest LNG on May 17, after a fire that broke out in September 2020 shut down the facility. In January 2022, Equinor pushed the start-up date from late March to mid-May, due to the surge in the Omicron infections early this year.
Equinor’s media spokesperson Magnus Frantzen Eidsvold confirmed for the Barents Observer the May 17 restart date for Hammerfest LNG.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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