The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate reported on Tuesday that oil output in Norway, the largest oil producer in Western Europe, fell in January compared to December and was 3% below official predictions.

Norway produced 1.754 million barrels of crude oil, 200,000 barrels of natural gas liquids (NGL), and 25,000 barrels of condensate a day in the past month. While crude oil output was 1.2% below projections and 1% lower than in December 2022, total oil production in January was 3.0% lower than the NPD’s prediction. Although it decreased by 1% from December to January, Norway’s natural gas production came in 3.9% higher than the directorate’s projection.

The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate stated last month that despite the lower production, Norway and the operators on its shelf anticipate maintaining the current high volumes of natural gas production for at least another five years. This is because operators have committed $29 billion (300 billion Norwegian crowns) to the development of new fields and extending the lifetimes of producing fields.

The petroleum and energy ministry of Norway also announced in January that the current round of licencing in mature areas will include up to 92 additional blocks for hydrocarbon development. The licencing round will be announced in the third quarter of this year, and the awarding of blocks is anticipated to happen in January 2024.

The NPD Director-General, Torgeir Stordal, said: “These are remarkable investments for the future. This will help ensure that Norway can continue to be a reliable supplier of energy to Europe.”