Norway's Gas Exports Hit Record High in December, But Fall 6.7% Overall in 2023

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ten data blog11-01-2024

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Norway exported a record amount of natural gas through pipelines to Europe in December, but the overall decline in 2023 is still 6.7 percent due to prolonged maintenance outages, pipeline system operator Gassco said Wednesday.

Alfred Skaar Hansen, Gassco's senior vice president for system operations, told Reuters, "December was a very good month as far as production on the Norwegian continental shelf is concerned."

Norway is set to replace Russia as Europe's biggest source of natural gas in 2022 as Moscow cuts supplies during the war in Ukraine, adding to concerns about the safety and reliability of the Norwegian energy sector.

Gassco said it delivered a total of 109.1 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas through its 8,800-kilometer (5,468-mile) pipeline network in 2023, down from 116.9 bcm a year earlier.

Full-year 2023 volumes were not previously reported.

Gassco expects more extensive maintenance in 2023, following some deferrals to help its network and export terminals operate at near last year's capacity.

It previously said European pipeline gas supplies fell 6.4 percent from January to August, and Norwegian gas production hit a four-year low in September.

However, Hansen said part of the 2023 work also seeks to increase capacity at the Colesnes processing plant, which is currently paying dividends.

Deliveries hit a new monthly record of 11.1 bcm in December, up from a high of 10.9 bcm in January 2017, thanks to steady production, good processing facility availability and stable demand.

Hansen said European demand for natural gas is expected to remain high in 2024, and Gassco's system is well positioned to handle the expected volumes and sustain the new higher production capacity.

"I'll try not to curse it, but we see nothing getting in the way of setting new delivery records. So hopefully the transportation system won't be a hindrance," he added.

Norway mainly delivers gas to receiving terminals in the UK, Germany, France and Belgium, and through Denmark to Poland.

State-controlled Equinor (EQNR.OL) is Norway's largest single gas producer.

Record supply to Germany

Deliveries to Germany reached a record high of 56.2 bcm in 2023, up from 55.6 bcm a year earlier, thanks to a new route with Denmark that boosts overall export capacity.

Hansen said, "What we are seeing now is that when we add up all the figures for Denmark and Germany, the total is higher than the total for Germany alone."

Exports to France fell 22.5 percent to 13.8 bcm last year, and exports to Belgium fell 3.8 percent to 15 bcm, Gassco said.

Supplies to the UK fell 13.6% to 24.1 bcm.

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