Analysis: Norway Oil Production Falls, Gas Production Rises
Norway oil production has declined over the past 10 years from 3.1 million b/d in 1999 to 2.3 million b/d in 2009, according to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2010. This decline can be attributed to the maturation of existing large oil fields offshore Norway. Norway's proved oil reserves also have declined from 10.9 billion barrels in 1999 to 7.5 billion in 2008.
The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) said that Norway has been unable to offset the production decline from existing fields with resources produced from new discoveries, and that "determined efforts are needed now to stem annual declines in production," said Norway Minister of Petroleum and Energy Terje Riis-Johansen. These efforts include more exploratory and development well drilling and enhanced oil recovery.
NPD estimates that oil production for 2010 will be somewhat lower than in 2008 at 108.7 million Sm3 or 1.87 Mb/d. From 2010 through 2014, oil production is expected total 491 million Sm3, or 160 million Sm3 less than the preceding five-year period.
However, Norwegian natural gas production has flourished in the past 10 years, thanks to field such as Ormen Lange and Snohvit, which has increased Norwegian gas exports. Norwegian gas production has grown from 48.5 billion cubic meters in 1999 to 103.5 billion cubic meters last year, according to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2010. Norway's proved natural gas reserves also grew from 1.25 Tcm in 1999 to 2.22 Tcm in 2008.
Natural gas production has risen as oil and gas companies moved northward into underexplored areas as additional exploration acreage has been gradually opened; these underexplored areas contain large gas reserves. As a result, a number of gas fields have been developed and a comprehensive gas transport infrastructure has been established, making it possible to develop additional gas resources. Gas production is expected to grow from an estimated 105 billion Sm3 this year to 112.2 billion Sm3 in 2014.
NPD estimates that only 40 percent, or 5.3 billion standard cubic meters of oil equivalent (scm o.e.), of petroleum resources on the Norwegian shelf has been produced. Total remaining recoverable resources is estimated at 8.1 billion scm o.e., including 4.8 billion scm o.e. of proven resources and undiscovered resources of 3.3 billion scm o.e. NPD estimates that 35 percent of undiscovered resources lies in the North Sea, 35 percent in the Norwegian Sea and 30 percent in the Barents Sea.
NPD has set a goal of reserves growth on the Norwegian Continental Shelf of 800 million scm of oil before 2015. To meet this goal, NPD said Norway must increase recovery from producing fields, develop discoveries in the vicinity of existing infrastructure, drill more development wells and operate fields in a more cost-efficient manner.
Field maintenance also has impacted Norway's oil and gas production in recent months. NPD reported that average daily production in June 2010 was about 1.87 million barrels of oil, natural gas liquids and condensate, 324,000 b/d less than in May 2010. Gas production was about 8.5 billion Sm3, or .5 billion Sm3 less than in the previous month.
NPD attributed the lower production to closures of the fields in the Ekofisk area for planned maintenance, while the Vale field was closed due to technical problems. Heidrun also was closed June 1 through June 26 due to maintenance, while Gullfaks C was closed due to well problems.
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