Denmark ups DUC's North Sea Oil Output Forecast

Denmark's government said on Thursday it expected the North Sea oil group DUC, led by A.P. Moeller-Maersk, to produce almost 70 percent more oil than previously forecast by Denmark's state-run energy agency.

The Economy Ministry forecast Danish Underground Consortium (DUC) will produce 350 million cubic meters (mcm) of oil from 2004 to 2042, 140 mcm more than the previous estimate.

"Due to new finds and improved drilling technology, we expect DUC to increase its oil production in the 2004-2042 period by some 140 million cubic meters to 350 million cubic meters," ministry chief consultant Nanna Moeller said.

Moeller-Maersk owns 39 percent of DUC, while its two partners Shell; and ChevronTexacohold 46 end 15 percent respectively.

Denmark's energy agency twice a year releases North Sea oil estimates, based on proven oil reserves and approved development plans, meaning that new finds, additional development plans and improved technology boost its forecasts.

Nanna Moeller said she expected DUC to increase its recovery rate to 27 percent from currently 21 percent thanks to improved technology. This would increase DUC's production by 120 mcm in the next 39 years, while new finds were seen adding another 20 mcm.

Denmark is the third-biggest oil producer in western Europe after Norway and Britain and DUC accounts for around 80 percent of total Danish output.