The start-up of the massive Johan Sverdrup oilfield sent Norway’s oil production rising to a nine-year high in December 2019, beating the authorities’ forecast by 12.7 percent, data from the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) showed on Friday.
In December 2019, the third month of operation of Equinor’s Johan Sverdrup oilfield in the North Sea, Norway’s oil production averaged 1.759 million barrels per day (bpd), the highest oil production offshore Norway since January 2011.
Norway’s oil production in December rose by 4.3 percent from November and jumped by 17 percent compared to December 2018.
Despite the Johan Sverdrup start-up, the average oil production in Norway in full-2019 was expected to be at its lowest level in three decades, the NPD has estimated previously.
But Johan Sverdrup’s development will help Norway boost its oil production over next few years.
The huge oilfield in Norway’s North Sea is already producing 350,000 barrels of oil per day, two months after coming on stream, a senior executive at Equinor told Reuters early last month.
Daily oil production during the first phase of the Johan Sverdrup development is estimated at 440,000 bpd and is expected to be reached by the middle of this year. Peak production with the second development phase is expected to reach 660,000 bpd. At peak production, Johan Sverdrup will account for around a third of Norway’s crude oil production, operator Equinor says.
Norway’s oil production is expected to jump in 2020 through 2023, thanks to the start up of Johan Sverdrup, which began pumping oil in early October 2019. But after Johan Sverdrup and after Johan Castberg in the Barents Sea scheduled for first oil in 2022, Norway doesn’t have major oil discoveries and projects to sustain its oil production after the middle of the 2020s.