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Norwegian liquids production was 1.57 mb/d in September, lower m/m by 85 thousand b/d and y/y by 36 thousand b/d and some 0.19 mb/d (10%) lower than the NPD forecast. Ramp up at the recently started Trestakk field was insufficient to offset declining production elsewhere, with underlying oil production lower by 11% y/y in the year to September. Output continues to be hampered by planned and unplanned maintenance at natural gas fields, with outages at Oseberg, Gullfaks and Åsgard in September leading to NGLs production of just 0.24 mb/d, down from a year-to-date average of 0.32 mb/d.
Oil production will pick up following the 5 October start of the 0.44 mb/d Johan Sverdrup field, which is set to load its first cargoes on 25 and 29 October. October loadings from Johan Sverdrup (+51 thousand b/d m/m) as well as the highest Troll loadings in 2019 (+30 thousand b/d m/m), will offset the planned reduction in loadings at Oseberg and Grane (each lower by 28 thousand b/d m/m). Total Norwegian loadings are set at 1.18 mb/d (flat m/m), indicating October output will only be marginally higher m/m. Production growth in November should be greater, with Johan Sverdrup loadings rising to 0.31 mb/d and total loadings in Norway higher by 0.38 mb/d m/m to 1.57 mb/d—the largest planned programme since January 2012. We expect Johan Sverdrup to be popular in Europe given its low naphtha cut, though initial cargoes will likely head east. The main Norwegian grades continue to trade at a premium to Dated Brent. Cargoes of Ekofisk, Oseberg and Troll all headed east in September as China picked up North Sea barrels to replace tariffed US crudes. Ekofisk is also finding a more regular home on the US East Coast.