In the 50 years since the start of Norway’s petroleum activities, about 52 per cent of the estimated total recoverable resources on the continental shelf is produced and sold. This indicates that there is also a potential for a high activity level on the shelf for the coming 50 years.
In 2022, Norway produced 232 million Sm³ of marketable oil equivalents (Sm³ o.e.), which is a slight increase compared with the production of 230.9 million Sm³ in 2021. By comparison, total production in the record year of 2004 was 264.2 million Sm³ o.e.
Oil production in 2022 was somewhat lower than in 2021. The main reasons for this are delays in production from new projects, in addition to the depreciation of reserves in some fields as a result of production experience. The gas production was eight per cent higher in 2022 than in 2021. Total sales of gas amounted to 124 billion Sm³ (122 billion Sm³ 40 megajoules of gas). In 2022, natural gas accounted for 53 per cent of the total production measured in oil equivalents. The increase is mainly due to high demand for gas in Europe. In addition, certain fields were given permission to terminate the injection of gas and a slightly larger share of the petroleum production (NGL) has been sold as pipe gas to contribute to increased gas exports.
Historical production and production forecasts for the next five years split by product type are shown in the figure below.
Historical and expected production in Norway, 1970-2027
Source: Norwegian Petroleum Directorate
The production profile of a typical oil field shows a rapid increase to a maximum production rate, then a stable period of production (the plateau phase) followed by a gradual decline in production. Without further investments, oil production will decline rapidly, and even with considerable investment to improve recovery, it can be difficult to maintain production from a field.
Without new fields or large-scale investments on existing fields, oil production from the Norwegian shelf would decline. Given the high level of development activity on the shelf in recent years, oil production is expected to continue to increase during the coming years. Production from new fields that come on stream will in the short run compensate for the decline in production from aging fields. The future production level over time is uncertain. It depends, for example, on which initiatives are implemented on the fields, discoveries that are decided to be developed, and when they come on stream. New discoveries in the future, how large they are, and how and when they are developed, will also affect the production level over time.
The figure below shows total historical production and production forecasts until 2032, distributed by maturity of the resources.
Production history and forecast distributed per resource category, 2018-2032
Source: Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (Gas is normalized at 40 MJ)