Norway and the United Kingdom own the largest share of the North Sea oil and have been the driving
forces behind the North Sea oil production.
Particularly interesting is Norway as its domestic consumption of oil is only around 200 000 barrels
per day and therefore much of its production can be exported. In fact it is also the world's third largest oil
exporter (Aleklett, 2006). The United Kingdom by comparison is a net oil importer and its future produc-
tion will not be as important for the rest of the world as that of Norway.
North Sea oil was discovered in the 1960s, and the first commercial production started in early 1970s.
The oil crisis of 1973 made the North Sea very attractive as it could offset supply cuts by the political will
of OPEC nations.
The programme for the development of new technologies got an enormous budget, 11 billion dollars
more than the US had spent on the moon landing project (Time, 1975). The North Sea became the world
leading region for production and offshore technology.
All the new technologies that were introduced led to increased production and in the 1990s oil was
flowing. In the end of the 1990s some even stated that the world was drowning in oil and the oil price was
heading towards 5 US$/barrel (Economist, 1999).
But suddenly the shock came and the situation changed dramatically. In 1999 the United Kingdom
reached its maximum oil production and started to decline. In 2001 Norway peaked at a production of 3.4
million barrels per day (Mbpd) and has been in decline since then. Norwegian oil production in 2007 had
fallen to 2.6 Mbpd, 25% less than the peak production. In 2008 Norway cut down its oil production fore-
cast from 2.5 Mbpd to 2.4 Mbpd, explaining this by maturing fields on the Norwegian continental shelf
(Oil & Gas Journal, 2008).
Aim of this study
Norway is a major oil exporter and the decline of Norwegian oil will affect all who are dependent on its
export. A realistic forecast for the future Norwegian oil production is therefore important. This article will
present such a forecast.
Oil production can be divided into crude oil, condensate and natural gas liquids (NGL). This study will
present a field-by-field analysis of all Norwegian oil, condensate and NGL production. As the Norwegian
Petroleum Directorate makes all field-related data available, Norway is ideal for a detailed field-by-field
Extrapolation and estimates of the amounts of oil that remain to be discovered will also be made to
provide a reasonable picture of the impact from undiscovered reserves based on the continuation of his-
All fields will be analyzed separately to determine their depletion rate, decline rate, cumulative produc-
tion and much more. The official data from the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) is used. The
total oil production is divided into four subclasses. This is to better display the different behaviour and
properties of the different oil types and field sizes.
The first subclass is crude oil from giant oil fields, which are fields with more than 0,5 Gb of ulti-
mately recoverable resources (URR) or a production of more than 100 000 barrels per day (bpd) for more
than one year. The definition used here follows the established results from other studies (Simmons,
2002; Robelius, 2007).
Crude oil from smaller oil fields, which are fields not large enough to be classified as giants, will be
the second subclass. These fields will be called dwarf oil fields in this study. It should however be noted
that there is no clear border between giants and dwarfs. The largest dwarfs also might actually be just