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Oil production in Norway, the biggest oil producer in Western Europe, slipped in January compared to December and was 3% below official forecasts, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate said on Tuesday.
Last month, Norway pumped 1.754 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil, 200,000 bpd of natural gas liquids (NGL), and 25,000 bpd of condensate.
Total oil production in January was 3.0% lower than the NPD’s forecast, while crude oil output was 1.2% below forecasts and 1% lower than in December 2022.
Norway’s natural gas production also fell in January, by 1% from December, but was 3.9% higher than the directorate’s forecast.
Despite the lower production, Norway and the operators on its shelf expect to maintain the current high volumes of natural gas production for at least another five years as operators have pledged $29 billion (300 billion Norwegian crowns) to develop new fields and extend the lifetimes of producing fields, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate said last month.
“These are remarkable investments for the future. This will help ensure that Norway can continue to be a reliable supplier of energy to Europe”, said NPD Director General Torgeir Stordal.
“Only rarely have we seen so much oil and gas produced on the Norwegian shelf as was the case last year – and only rarely have we seen such significant investment decisions,” the NPD said in its yearly overview of the production and investment activity on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.
In January, Norway’s petroleum and energy ministry also said it was offering up to 92 new blocks for hydrocarbon exploration in the new round of licensing in mature areas.
The announcement for the licensing round will take place in the third quarter of this year, with the award of blocks expected to be announced in January 2024.
In the most recent licensing round, APA 2022, the ministry awarded earlier in January 47 new production licenses in the predefined areas to a wide variety of companies.
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.