Norwegian oil production continues to be weak, with the latest data from the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate, released this morning, pegging total oil production in August at 1.835 mb/d, lower y/y by 162 thousand b/d. Although preliminary, the figures were the lowest since September 2010 and the second lowest in over 30 years. The bulk of the decline was once again in crude, which fell y/y by 116 thousand b/d to 1.506 mb/d.
Planned maintenance during Q3 in the North Sea tends to depress output and this year was no different. Over August, maintenance was carried out in Glitne, Snorre, Tordis and Åsgard fields. The Valhall and Hod fields were closed for the whole month in preparation for the start of a new platform. We expect Norwegian output in September to remain weak due to further maintenance, before recovering in October
Meanwhile, final figures for July confirmed the trends set out in the preliminary numbers, with total production lower y/y by 188 thousand b/d. Crude oil output was lower y/y by 205 thousand b/d, primarily due to the strikes carried out by the country's offshore workers over the withdrawal of the right to early retirement at 62 with full pension pay. While a complete shutdown was averted at the last minute, as the government used emergency powers to intervene between the workers and oil companies, the strike nonetheless shut in around 13% of Norway's oil production in early July.