Norwegian gas output was stronger y/y in April, as colder weather across much of Europe supported demand and a lighter planned maintenance schedule compared with April 2016, eased constraints.
Aggregate Norwegian output totalled 10.63 bcm in April according to the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD), which is 0.20 bcm higher y/y and 0.39 bcm lower m/m. While planned summer maintenance curbed April output capacity from fields and processing plants by 0.13 bcm, this was 0.13 bcm less y/y. Unplanned works curbed Kvitebjorn output capacity by 8-10 mcm/d on 3-12 April, slowing exports to Europe for just over a week. However, while planned works cut Kollsnes processing capacity by 14 mcm/d from 24 April to 6 May, total exports to Europe stepped up from the week before on some of those days, suggesting that Troll was already running at least slightly below the 106 mcm/d it would have been limited to by a 14 mcm/d Kollsnes constraint and had scope to quicken. Colder-than-average weather in most of Northwest Europe also helped support demand for Norwegian gas last month, keeping contract nominations high. HDDs in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany were a touch higher y/y and above the past five-year average. Norwegian exports to all parts of Northwest Europe were up y/y except for the UK, where lower storage capacity (due to Rough being offline) was already dampening demand. The NBP-TTF D+1 basis averaged -0.32 p/therm in April, reversing from 0.88 p/therm the month before. Norwegian exports to the German beach, and on to the Netherlands, averaged 81 mcm/d, up by 36% y/y.
Norwegian output was a touch slower y/y in March at 11.01 bcm, down by 0.15 bcm y/y because of lower output from non-flexible fields and Troll. Field-level data for March—the latest month for which data are available—show that output from the Atla field was zero last month, down by about 2 mcm/d y/y. The field is in the ‘tail phase’ of production, with permanent shutdown expected in the ‘near future’ according to NPD. Output from Sleipner West, which is also in the tail phase of production, fell by nearly 3 mcm/d. Troll output was down by almost 5 mcm/d y/y at 0.10 bcm/d in March but was offset Oseberg production of 8 mcm/d, up by 5 mcm/d y/y.
Norwegian pipeline exports to Europe have been slower y/y in May so far due to planned maintenance. Works will cut the country’s production and processing capacity by 1.4 bcm, nearly 0.6 bcm more y/y, in May—the only month this summer when scheduled maintenance is higher y/y. Exports should ramp back up in June with a lighter maintenance schedule and plenty of demand to fill European storage.