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Norway approves adjusted production permits for key fields in gas boost


Permits adjusted for six Norwegian fields: ministry

To contribute to forecast 2022 gas sales increase

Volumes under new permits also to be produced in 2023

  • Author
  • Stuart Elliott
  • Editor
  • Daniel Lalor
  • Commodity
  • LNG Natural Gas

Norway's energy ministry said July 4 it had approved adjusted production permits for six key fields, with the changes set to contribute to Norway's estimate for increased gas output in 2022.

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Norway in May hiked its estimate for gas production this year by 6% to 122 Bcm as high prices incentivize increased gas output across the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS).

In a statement, the energy ministry said it had decided on adjusted production permits for the Troll, Gina Krog, Duva, Oseberg, Asgard and Mikkel fields, based on applications from the field licensees.

The permit adjustments include volumes expected to be produced partly in 2022 and partly in 2023, it said.

"The most important thing Norway can do in today's demanding energy situation for Europe and the world is to facilitate companies on the NCS to maintain today's high production," energy minister Terje Aasland said.

"The companies are continuously assessing their options for delivering more gas and oil from their Norwegian fields," Aasland said.

"The decisions we have now made are due to such optimizations and will contribute to the record high gas sales we expect through our gas pipeline system this year," he said.

The ministry has also granted production permits for the Wintershall Dea-operated Nova field, which is expected to start up at the end of July.

The volumes approved for production in the adjusted and new permits were taken into account in the current estimate for Norwegian gas sales in 2022, it said.

"Therefore the decisions do not increase the expected gas sales this year, but support the fact that there may be record high export volumes through the pipeline system in 2022," it said.

High prices

Norway achieved its highest ever gas output in 2017 when production reached 122.4 Bcm.

Production could surpass that level if the current output levels are sustained as operators look to make the most of record high gas prices.

The TTF month-ahead price reached a record Eur212.15/MWh in early March, according to Platts assessments by S&P Global Commodity Insights, and was last assessed on July 1 at Eur145.83/MWh, still 320% higher on the year.

However, near-term Norwegian gas production could be impacted from July 5 as workers at a number of fields -- including Oseberg and Gudrun -- begin strike action.

In the meantime, operators in Norway are currently producing at, or close to, full capacity, the ministry said.

"Norway can make an important contribution to the current situation by maintaining high production of oil and gas," it said.

Norwegian pipeline gas can meet 20%-25% of gas demand in the EU and the UK, it said, while the Equinor-operated Hammerfest LNG also contributes to supplying global LNG markets.

The facility resumed operations in June after the plant was hit by a fire in September 2020.

The 4.3 million mt/year capacity plant can supply the equivalent of 18 million cu m/d of gas -- or 6.6 Bcm on an annualized basis.

Before the fire, LNG from the Hammerfest plant was traditionally supplied to European importers. In 2020, the bulk of cargoes exported landed in France, the UK, Poland, Lithuania, Spain, and the Netherlands.