The North Sea oil output for the month of November was down -0.7%YoY and was also 4.1% below forecasted levels. The total output for the month of November stood at 18.52 million cubic meters (scm) or 116.5 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe) versus 18.65 million scm in the same period last year.
The shrinkage was primarily driven by the decline in the output of gas. While the total petroleum liquids production was up 5.3%YoY, gas production was down 5.8%, dragging down the total output of the area. Liquids production grew significantly during the month, spurred by growth in crude oil output. However, the total output did rise 1.9% on a MoM basis due to better MoM movement in gas production.
Crude oil production jumps 7.2%
Crude oil production jumped 7.2%YoY and 9.96%MoM in November to touch 1.55 million barrels per day (bblpd) versus 1.44 million bblpd in the same period last year and 1.41 million bblpd in October 2013. The oil production for the month was in line with the expectations of the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD).
Figure 1: Monthly oil production in 2012 and 2013 (million barrels per day)
There was a considerable decline in the output from other liquid products including condensate and NGLs (non-gas liquids). Condensate experienced a decline of 10.2% YoY and 14.7% MoM while NGL output dropped 0.4%YoY and 8.1% MoM. Consequently, total liquids production increased 5.3% YoY to settle at 1.9 million bblpd for the month, rising from 1.81 million bblpd last year and 1.79 million bblpd in October 2013.
Gas shows disappointing output
Natural gas production dropped 5.8% YoY to 9.44 million scm versus an output of 10.02 million scm last year. The production results were quite disappointing for NPD, which had forecast production levels for the month to settle at 10.08 million scm. The preliminary production numbers revealed by NPD recently revealed that the output was 6.3% below NPD’s prognosis for the month.
However, much of the decline in the output of gas and condensate was attributed to technical problems and repair work on the fields of Heidrun, Skarv, Skuld and Valhall.
Figure 2: Total liquids and gas production (million cubic meters per day)
NPD optimistic about December output
NPD’s forecast for the next month stands at 0.66 million scm per day versus 0.62 million scm per day recorded for the month of November. This means that NPD expects the output to grow by nearly 7% MoM and 0.9% YoY. This growth will be fueled by growth in both crude oil and gas production, which will support the total output. If the forecast materializes, the North Sea output will touch its highest level in the last 12 months.