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Norwegian oil production to decline in 2007, gas flows will continue to set records

Norwegian oil production to decline in 2007, gas flows will continue to set records

Norwegian oil and petroleum liquids production is expected to decline by about seven percent this year, while natural gas flows will continue to set new production records, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate said Friday.
The state agency's annual resources report said Norway's offshore fields are expected to produce about 2.6 million barrels a day of oil, natural gas liquids and condensate, compared to an average of 2.8 billion barrels in 2006.
The new oil production projection is 400,000 barrels per day _ or about 13 percent _ below the directorate's targets from early last year, due to delays in starting some new fields and a shortage of offshore drilling rigs, the report said.
"The development shows that oil production is declining and that investments and costs are increasing," said Oil Minister Odd Roger Enoksen at the presentation of the report in Stavanger, a western Norway port that is the center of Norway's oil industry.
Norway is the world's third-largest oil exporter, after Saudi Arabia and Russia, and is also the No. 3 gas exporter.
According to the report, natural gas exports increased 2.5 percent from 2005 to 2006 to 87 billion cubic meters (3.07 trillion cubic feet), and is expected to rise 11.5 percent this year to 93 billion cubic meters (3.28 trillion cubic feet) and by 35 percent from 2006 levels in five years.
One new offshore field went on stream last year, while seven _ including Statoil ASA's Snoehvit natural gas field _ are expected to start production this year.
Even though the number of exploration wells drilled in 2006 doubled to 26 from the previous year, only four discoveries were made, the report said. The largest find, the Goliat oil field, was made by the Norwegian branch of the Italian oil company Eni SpA in the Barents Sea.
The directorate said it expects about 30 offshore exploration wells to be drilled in 2007.
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