Norwegian production on the up, but more exploration needed, NPD says

Eleven discoveries were made in 2017.
Eleven discoveries were made in 2017.

Production on the Norwegian continental shelf is expected to increase over the next four years, but the country’s petroleum directorate is adamant that more exploration is needed.

The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) said gas will account for about half of production by 2013. Oil accounted for most of production as recently as 2004.

A total of 85 fields were producing on the shelf last year, while development plans were handed in for 10 new projects.

NPD said 34 exploration wells were completed in 2017, three fewer than the previous year. Half of the wells were in the Barents Sea.

Eleven discoveries were made, down from 18 in 2016. NPD described last year’s discoveries as “relatively minor”.

NPD director general Bente Nyland said: “If production is to be maintained at a high level also beyond 2025, more profitable resources must be proven, including in major discoveries.

“Therefore, the NPD believes that exploration activity must be increased from today’s level, in both mature and frontier areas.”

Development project costs have been cut by 30-50% in the last couple of years while, operating costs have been reduced by around 30% since 2013/2014.

Mr Nyland said: “The projects now being approved generally have good profitability and can tolerate an oil price as low as $30‐$40 per barrel.”

NPD expects investments to be around £11.2billion this year, about the same level as 2017.

In 2019, investments are expected to rise to just under £12.9billion.