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Norway’s natural gas production beat forecasts and rose to a record high in December, preliminary figures from the Norwegian Offshore Directorate showed on Tuesday.
Norwegian gas production increased to an all-time high of 379 million cubic meters per day (mcm/day), up from November levels and up by 7.7% compared to the directorate’s forecast.
Oil production also beat forecasts, by 1.9%, and stood at 1.847 million barrels per day (bpd) last month, up from 1.805 million bpd in November.
Last year, Norway’s oil and gas production was slightly lower than expected, largely due to unplanned and extended maintenance shutdowns at multiple fields and onshore facilities during the summer, the Norwegian Offshore Directorate said in its annual report earlier this month.
Gas production resumed full force starting from early autumn, with November and December being particularly good months for gas exports, Norway said. According to the directorate’s preliminary figures, a new export record for a single month was set in December, with just under 12 billion standard cubic meters of gas exported.
Oil and gas companies plan to boost exploration activity and spending offshore Norway this year as Western Europe’s top oil and gas producer looks to maintain production and raise exports to the rest of Europe.
Currently, most exploration efforts are focused on areas around existing infrastructure so discoveries can be tied back quickly and create value while the fields are still in operation, the Norwegian Offshore Directorate said.
While this is important for maintaining production levels in the near and medium term, the directorate said it “would like to see companies exploring actively in more frontier areas.”
The robust exploration and production activity of the past year is set to continue into 2024, it noted in the report.
This year, exploration activity will pick up, with 40 to 50 exploration wells planned by operators, up from 34 exploration wells spudded last year, according to the authority.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.