Norwegian oil production expected to decline and gas flows to continue

Jan 05, 2007 01:00 AM

Norwegian oil and petroleum liquids production is expected to decline by about 7 % this year, while natural gas flows will continue to set new production records, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate said.
The state agency's annual resources report said Norway's offshore fields are expected to produce about 2.6 mm bpd of oil, natural gas liquids and condensate, compared to an average of 2.8 bn barrels in 2006.

The new oil production projection is 400,000 bpd -- or about 13 % -- below the directorate's targets from early last year, due to delays in starting some new fields and a shortage of offshore drilling rigs, the report said.
"The development shows that oil production is declining and that investments and costs are increasing," said Oil Minister Odd Roger Enoksen at the presentation of the report in Stavanger, a western Norway port that is the centre of Norway's oil industry. Norway is the world's third-largest oil exporter, after Saudi Arabia and Russia, and is also the No. 3 gas exporter.

According to the report, natural gas exports increased 2.5 % from 2005 to 2006 to 87 bn cm (3.07 tcf), and is expected to rise 11.5 % this year to 93 bn cm (3.28 tcf) and by 35 % from 2006 levels in five years. One new offshore field went on stream last year, while seven -- including Statoil's Snoehvit natural gasfield -- are expected to start production this year.
Even though the number of exploration wells drilled in 2006 doubled to 26 from the previous year, only four discoveries were made, the report said. The largest find, the Goliat oilfield, was made by the Norwegian branch of the Italian oil company ENI in the Barents Sea. The directorate said it expects about 30 offshore exploration wells to be drilled in 2007.

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