Since production started on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) in 1971, oil and gas have been produced from a total of 122 fields. At the end of 2022, 93 fields were in production: 70 in the North Sea, 21 in the Norwegian Sea and two in the Barents Sea. Overall production from these fields in 2022 was 232 million standard cubic metres of oil equivalents (Sm3 o.e.), about 12 per cent lower than in the peak year of 2004, but slightly higher than in 2021.
For the next few years, total production on the NCS is expected to increase slightly, as the decline in production from aging fields is anticipated to be lower than the production from new fields that come on stream. In the long term, the number and size of new discoveries will be of crucial importance to the production level.
Gas currently accounts for slightly more than half of the total production. In the years ahead, a larger proportion of the production will consist of liquids (marketable oil, NGL and condensate). While mostly oil was produced in the record year of 2004, gas will account for almost half of the total production in 2025.
Historical and expected production in Norway, 1970-2027
Source: Norwegian Petroleum Directorate
Several of the large, aging fields still have substantial remaining reserves. 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. Moreover, the resource base for existing facilities increases when small, neighbouring discoveries are tied-in to the existing infrastructure.
It is also possible to increase recovery from many of these fields beyond existing plans. The licensees on the NCS are continuously working on new projects to increase 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, 2018-2032
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.
In 2022, power production from Hywind Tampen, the first floating offshore wind farm on the NCS, started towards Gullfaks. Full operation towards Gullfaks/Snorre started in 2023. Four new fields came on stream in 2023; Fenja and Bauge in the Norwegian Sea and Tommeliten A and Breidablikk in North Sea. In addition, the Frosk deposit, which is part of the Bøyla field, started production.
At year-end, about 80 discoveries were, or could be, considered for development. 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 2023, the authorities approved a record-breaking number of new development projects. The largest of these projects are Yggdrasil (Munin, Hugin and Fulla) as well as Valhall/Fenris. In addition, plans were approved for the development and operation of Halten Øst, Tyrving, Irpa, Verdande, Dvalin Nord, Symra, Ørn, Idun Nord, Alve Nord and Berling. Amended plans for the development and operation of Snøhvit Future and Maria phase 2 were also approved, as well as several projects to increase recovery on the existing fields.
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 the autumn of 2023, 26 development projects are ongoing on the NCS. Of these, 15 are new field developments, while 11 are amendments to existing fields (related to increased recovery, changes to power supply or development of additional resources to existing fields). The interactive map below shows ongoing development projects. Investments are estimates from the PDO in 2022 NOK. Note that the map is not updated continuously and the geographical location on this map is inaccurate.