Since production started on the Norwegian continental shelf in 1971, oil and gas have been produced from a total of 119 fields. At the end of 2021, 94 fields were in production: 71 in the North Sea, 21 in the Norwegian Sea and two in the Barents Sea. Overall production from these fields in 2021 was 231 million standard cubic metres of oil equivalents (Sm3 o.e.), about 13 per cent lower than in the peak year of 2004, but two per cent higher than in 2020.
For the next few years, total production on the Norwegian shelf is expected to remain relatively stable. Production from new fields that come on stream will compensate for the decline in production from aging producing fields.
It is expected that the ratio between produced gas and liquids (marketable oil, NGL and condensate) will decrease slightly in the next few years. While mostly oil was produced in the record year 2004, gas will account for almost half of the total production in 2024. In the long term, the number and size of new discoveries will be of crucial importance to the production level.
Historical and expected production in Norway, 1970-2026
Source: Norwegian Petroleum Directorate
At the end of 2021, 94 fields on the Norwegian shelf were in production. Several of the large, aging fields still have substantial remaining reserves. Moreover, the resource base for existing facilities increases when small, neighbouring discoveries are tied-in to the existing infrastructure. The activity level on producing fields will remain high in the years ahead. These fields will account for the bulk of production in the coming years.
It is also possible to increase recovery from many of these fields beyond existing plans. About 180 projects are currently being assessed to improve recovery from existing fields. It is important for the licensees to find profitable ways of improving recovery and making operations more efficient on existing fields. In addition, existing and new commercially viable discoveries need to be tied-in to existing infrastructure to utilise the production and transport capacity in mature areas in the years ahead.
See resource management in mature areas for more detailed information.
Production history and forecast distributed per resource category, 2017-2031
Source: Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (Gas is normalized at 40 MJ)
A large number of fields are in production and several new fields will come into production during the next few years. Therefore, it is expected that production will increase during the next few years and remain relatively high in the next decade.
See article about production forecasts for more detailed information.
Four new fields came onstream in 2021: Martin Linge, Duva and Solveig in the North Sea and Ærfugl Nord in the Norwegian Sea. In October 2021, production from Yme started again after a redevelopment of the field. At the year-end, six field developments were ongoing: four in the North Sea, one in the Norwegian Sea and one in Barents Sea.
In addition, there were about 88 discoveries that are being, or could be, considered for development at year-end. Most of them are small and will be developed as satellites to existing fields. Stand-alone developments are planned for the largest discoveries, but several smaller discoveries could build new infrastructure through collaborated development solutions.
In 2021, the authorities approved plan for development and operation (PDO) for Breidablikk field in the North Sea. Amended plans were also approved for the development and operation of Sleipner and Troll for projects related to these two fields' power supply.
The table below shows the estimated reserves in fields under development. Please note that the table is continuously updated.
Reserves in fields under development
All volumes in million Sm3 o.e.
Source: The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate
In addition to the new field developments, further developments are ongoing in the producing fields. The interactive map below shows development projects with an approved plan for development and operation (PDO)/plan for installation and operation (PIO) and an amended PDO/PIO. Investments are estimates from the PDO in 2021 NOK. Note that the map is not updated continuously and geographical location on this map is inaccurate.