Norwegian Arctic oil production down in 2013, but expected to grow

January 20, 2014

Figures assembled by BarentsObserver show that both oil and gas production in northern Norwegian fields dropped significantly in the course of 2013, Barents Observer reported on January 17. The Snøhvit field, so far the only operating project in the Barents Sea, produced a total of 3,76 million sm3 of gas, a decline of 24 percent compared with 2012. Likewise, practically all of the fields located in the Norwegian Sea off the coast of the Nordland County had falling production figures.

In total, the north Norwegian oil production in 2013 dropped 16 percent to a total of 5,13 million Sm3, while the regional gas production fell 16 percent to 6,06 million SM3, figures from the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate show. The figures include production at the fields of Snøhvit, Heidrun, Morvin, Norne, Urd and Yttergryta.

The trend is in line with figures from the rest of the Norwegian shelf. In her presentation of 2013 results, leader of the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate Bente Nyland confirmed that Norway’s total production in the period totaled 213,7 million Sm3, a 4,9 percent decrease from 2012 and 49,8 percent less than at peak production in 2004, a press release informs.

According to the directorate, Norwegian production will over the next ten years will increase only slightly. So will also investments, which in 2013 totaled 173 billion NOK (€20,6 billion).

The downward trend in northern Norwegian waters comes on the backdrop of a major growth of interest among oil companies. In the 22nd Norwegian License Round announced in spring 2013, as many as 29 companies got license right in the Arctic waters, among them for the first time the two Russian companies Lukoil and Rosneft. The 23rd Round, which is to be announced in 2014, will include also the prospective southeastern part of Norwegian Arctic waters, areas located along the maritime border to Russia.

In 2013, a total of 13 hydrocarbon discoveries were made in northern Norwegian waters, of them eight in the Norwegian Sea and five in the Barents Sea. Commenting on the status in the region, Bente Nyland says that “these discoveries have created a renewed interest in the Barents Sea, which ultimately could play an important role in upholding petroleum production”. At the same time, the NPD leader underlines that Norway will not rush to exploit the northern energy resouces. Talking to newspaper Dagens Næringsliv, she maintains that “good preparations are more important than high speed”.

Resource estimates for the Norwegian Arctic waters are steadily increasing. As previously reported, the first seismic data from the southeastern part of the Norwegian Arctic shelf in 2012 gave Ms. Nyland “stars in her eyes”. Since then, major additional seismic activities have been conducted and new resources revealed. Recently, the NPD increased its total undiscovered resource estimate to 18.5 billion barrels of oil equivalents (boe) from a previous estimate for 16.3 billion, Reuters reports. A lion’s share of that comes from the Arctic.

Copyright: Barents Observer, 2014