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Norway’s Oil Production Continues To Decline Faster Than Expected

Norway’s crude oil production has not only been sliding this year compared to last year—as expected—but it has also consistently underperformed the production forecasts of the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD).

NPD’s figures for September showed on Friday that Norway’s crude oil production stood at 1.302 million bpd, down by 13 percent compared to August 2018 and down 9.6 percent compared to September last year.

Total liquids production—including oil, natural gas liquids (NGL), and condensate—came in at 1.607 million bpd, down 13.7 percent on the month and 9.4 percent on the year.

Oil and total liquids production last month was also lower than the NPD’s forecasts, by 11.9 percent and 12.1 percent, respectively.

So far this year, only the January production met the directorate’s estimates, while production in all other months through September trailed forecasts.

“Oil production for September is about 12 percent below the NPD’s forecast for the month and about 4.4 percent below the forecast for 2018. The most important reason why production in September is lower than expected is maintenance shutdown that was not included in the prognosis for several fields,” the NPD said in its statement.

Between January and September, Norway’s crude oil production dropped by 8 percent compared to the same period of 2017, also due to technical problems at some fields of Norway’s major Equinor.

Oil production on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS) is expected to continue its decline until late next year, when the Equinor-operated giant oil field Johan Sverdrup in the North Sea is slated to start production. Johan Sverdrup is expected to be the main contributor to Norway’s rising oil production until 2023.

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But from the mid-2020s onward, production offshore Norway will start to decline again “so making new and large discoveries quickly is necessary for maintaining production at the same level from the mid-2020s,” Torgeir Stordal, Director exploration at the NPD, said in the directorate’s 2018 resource and exploration report in June.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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