Norway October oil production disappoints, to miss 2012 target
BY KJETIL MALKENES HOVLAND
OSLO -- Norway's 2012 crude production will likely miss the official target due to planned maintenance and technical problems on several fields, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate said Tuesday, as crude production came in below expectations for the second month in a row in October.
October crude oil production was 12% below the directorate's forecast and September production was 15% lower than estimated, which means Norway will likely produce less crude than the expected 1.616 MMbopd in 2012, the directorate said.
The average production of crude was 1.472 MMbopd in October, from 1.245 MMbopd in September and 1.681 MMbopd a year earlier, preliminary numbers showed.
"The oil production is also about 3.0% below the cumulative prognosis this year. Since the prognosis for the remaining year is relatively high, it might be a challenge to meet the oil production target for 2012," said Jan Bygdevoll, Director Forecasting at the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate.
Norway's crude oil production hit a peak in 2000 at 3.12 MMbopd, which nearly halved to 1.68 MMbopd in 2011.
The reason for the unexpectedly low October oil production was planned maintenance and technical problems on fields such as the BP-operated Valhall and Hod fields, which were closed during the month to prepare the start-up of a new platform, the directorate said.
In addition, a hydrocarbon leak at the Ula field led to the shut-down of the BP operated Ula and Tambar fields and the DONG-operated Oselvar fields during October.
Also, plans to start production at the Talisman-operated Yme field and the BP-operated Skarv field have been delayed, although Skarv is now expected to begin production in December, the directorate said.
Norway's combined oil and gas production peaked in 2004 at 4.54 MMbopd. By 2011, total annual production had fallen 16.7% to 3.8 MMbopd.
Total petroleum production so far in 2012 is slightly higher than in the year-earlier period, at 1.176 Bboe, or about 3.86 MMboepd.
Crude oil's share of Norway's total production so far in 2012 is 40.1%, from a 45.3% share in the year-earlier period. The rest of the production is gas, natural gas liquids and condensates.
Natural gas sales in October were 10 Bcm, or 2.02 MMboepd, up 3 Bcm on the month from September and slightly below the estimate.
Norway also produced 255,000 bpd of natural gas liquids in October, compared with 272,000 bpd a month earlier. Condensates production was 77,000 bpd in October, from 66,000 bpd in September.
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