Norway’s oil production: ‘Almost 50 years in and still not halfway done’

Norway has been producing oil and gas for almost half a decade, since the first production at the Ekofisk field in 1971. According to the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate, when it comes to oil and gas production, the Scandinavian country is not halfway done yet.

Since 1990, total resources, including the estimate for undiscovered resources in Norway, have increased by more than 40 percent, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate said on Thursday.

“In fact, more resources than we expected overall in 1990 have been proven, and there is still a lot left to find. In order to extract all the values, the industry must cooperate on utilizing the infrastructure that exists and use the available technology,” the country’s oil directorate said.

“We have been producing oil and gas in Norway for nearly 50 years and we are still not halfway done. Vast volumes of oil and gas have been discovered on the Norwegian shelf that are still waiting to be produced. We want companies with the ability and willingness to utilize new knowledge and advanced technology. This will yield profitable production for many decades in the future,” says Ingrid Sølvberg, Director of development and operations in the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate.

According to, the export value of Norway’s crude oil, natural gas, and condensate in 2016 was about NOK 350 billion. This amounts to approximately 47 % of the total value of Norway’s exports of goods.

77 discoveries considered for development


At the turn of the year,  NPD said, there were 77 discoveries on the Norwegian shelf that are being considered for development. Most are located in the North Sea, and the largest are in the Barents Sea. The resources in these discoveries amount to 700 million Sm3 o.e.

In addition, nearly 850 million Sm3 o.e. can be produced through improved recovery measures, as much as the total production from the Statfjord field since its start-up in 1979. This presumes that the companies will make investment decisions for projects that have already been identified.

The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate has also identified a technical potential for substantial volumes of oil and gas. Through using advanced methods for enhanced oil recovery (EOR), volumes in the scope of 320 – 860 million Sm3 of oil could be recovered, the directorate said..

Tight reservoirs


According to NDP, apart from all of the above, there are vast volumes of oil and gas in tight reservoirs that could be recovered using new technology.

“The authorities expect that all resources that contribute to values for society will be produced, not just the ‘easy barrels’. This requires us to maintain strong expert communities and develop and apply new technology,” Sølvberg says.

“The Norwegian shelf has been a laboratory for testing new technology. We now need to become leaders with regard to using the technologies that have been developed. We have a strong offshore technology environment in Norway. Let’s make sure this is also maintained in the future.”

Sølvberg emphasized that “the Norwegian petroleum industry needs ambitious engineers and visionary leaders that can maintain the Norwegian shelf’s strong position within development and use of new and advanced offshore technology through good cooperation between oil companies, suppliers and the authorities.”