Norway: We’re here to support European energy security

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Jan. 9 (UPI) — Boasting of gains in crude oil and natural gas production, the Norwegian government said Monday it was in a strong position to help bolster European energy security.

The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate, the nation’s energy regulator, said total production in 2022 worked out to be 4 million barrels per day on an oil-equivalent basis. Crude oil production just for November, the last full month for which the government has data, averaged 1.7 million bpd, while natural gas output came in at 3.7 billion cubic feet per day.”

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“Production is extremely high, and it will continue to grow in the years to come,” the NPD stated.

The NPD now estimates natural gas accounts for more than half of all of the fossil fuels pulled from Norwegian waters. In total, the government estimates natural gas production last year was 13 billion cubic feet per day.

The Appalachia basin, the most prolific shale natural gas basin in the United States, yields about 35 billion cubic feet per day, by comparison. But with the loss of Russian crude oil and natural gas due to Western-backed sanctions imposed for its aggression in Ukraine, it’s the United States and Norway taking over some of the European market share.

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Torgeir Stordal, the general director at the NPD, said Norway has fortified itself as a long-term, predictable supplier to the European economy and productivity in 2023 should not disappoint.

The NPD has 13 new development plans to clear out and is expecting some $30 billion in investments in the sector. That could bring in even more oil and gas this year.

“These are remarkable investments for the future,” Stordal said. “This will help ensure that Norway can continue to be a reliable supplier of energy to Europe.

Much of what’s left offshore Norway is in the frigid waters of the Barents Sea, where the government sees a huge upside potential. In December, Norwegian energy company Equinor said the first phase of operations at the Askeladd field was sending more natural gas to the Hammerfest liquified natural gas plant on the island of Melkoya, just south of the Arctic Circle.

Hammerfest under normal conditions represents about 5% of total Norwegian natural gas exports, which is enough to satisfy the demand from about 6.5 million average European households.

“The disappearance of Russian gas on the European market led to greater demand for Norwegian gas, which caused Norway to become the largest supplier in Europe by the end of last year,” the NPD added.

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Norway, meanwhile, is unique among major oil and gas producers in that it powers its economy almost entirely on renewable resources such as wind and hydroelectric power. The government said that could expand even further after it hired two geological data firms to map the shallow waters of its continental shelf for potential wind energy deployment.