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NORWAY DATA: May oil output slips 4%, but still 440,000 b/d higher on year

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NORWAY DATA: May oil output slips 4%, but still 440,000 b/d higher on year

Highlights

Crude output down 2% as maintenance on hold

250,000 b/d crude oil cut implemented in June

Cuts to ease to 134,000 b/d from July

London — Norway's oil production slipped by 4% in May to 2.03 million b/d ahead of production cuts coming into force this month, but was still 440,000 b/d above May 2019's, official data showed June 19.

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Counting crude oil alone, production in Europe's largest oil producing nation slipped by 2% from April, to 1.74 million b/d, amounting to a 480,000 b/d increase from May 2019, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate said.

Norway's oil production has received a massive boost from the start of production last October of Johan Sverdrup, a 2.7-billion-barrel field seen as a throwback to an earlier age of North Sea abundance. State-controlled Equinor has said the field's current production "plateau" is 470,000 b/d, with a second phase due on stream in the fourth quarter of 2022 expected to lift that to 690,000 b/d.

The latest figures suggest strong performance across Norway's oil industry following a glitch-prone few years, but this may be due to the deferral of maintenance shutdowns that normally take place in summer; some non-essential work has been postponed due to coronavirus restrictions.

The NPD noted the May oil production figure was 1% above its monthly forecast.

In April, Norway announced it would implement cuts to crude oil production starting with a 250,000 b/d cut in June, followed by a 134,000 b/d cut for the rest of the year, to help rebalance oil markets.

East Asian countries such as China and South Korea are regular buyers of Norwegian crudes such as Johan Sverdrup and Ekofisk.

The country is not, however, formally part of the OPEC+ group of producer countries, which agreed a cut of nearly 10 million b/d starting in May.

The Norwegian cuts are intended to be distributed "fairly" across all fields, including Johan Sverdrup, but do not include gas and condensate fields, the authorities have said.