OSLO, Jan 9 (Reuters) – Norway’s oil output is expected to rise by 6.9% this year as the huge Johan Sverdrup field ramps up production while gas volumes are predicted to remain unchanged near record highs, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) said on Monday.
Production of crude oil and other petroleum liquids such as condensate is likely to increase to 2.02 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2023 from 1.89 million last year, NPD’s forecasts show.
Norway last year overtook Russia as Europe’s biggest gas supplier, with Equinor (EQNR.OL) the top exporter, after Russia’s Gazprom (GAZP.MM) cut off much of the gas on which Europe previously depended.
Investment by oil and gas producers, including for exploration, is expected to rise to 189 billion Norwegian crowns ($19.1 billion) this year and peak at 202 billion crowns in 2025, up from 172 billion crowns in 2022, the NPD said in a statement.
Companies last year submitted more than a dozen plans for developing new fields or upgrading existing ones, aiming to produce a total of 1.6 billion barrels of oil equivalent over the investment’s lifetime, with half the output being natural gas, NPD said.
“This will help to ensure that Norway can continue to be a reliable supplier of energy to Europe,” said NPD Director General Torgeir Stordal.
Norway’s combined oil and gas output is expected to rise to 4.12 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (boed) in 2023, up from a preliminary 3.99 million boed last year, the NPD’s forecasts show.
Production is forecast to continue to rise in the following years, hitting a two-decade high of 4.3 million boed in 2025, just shy of a record 4.54 million barrels produced in 2004, before starting to decline gradually, the NPD predicted.
The country’s gas output is expected to stay virtually unchanged in 2023 at 122 billion cubic metres (bcm), or 2.1 million boed, the NPD said, in line with a recent government projection.
“After 2030, we will depend on finding more resources to arrest the decline,” Stordal said.
The NPD expects oil companies to drill about 30-40 exploration wells in 2023, compared with 32 last year.
($1 = 9.9232 Norwegian crowns)