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Peak of the Norwegian Petroleum Adventure

At the turn of the century it looked like the Norwegian petroleum adventure had reached its peak. And that from then on, the petroleum production on the Norwegian continental shelf would only decrease.

Oil production on the Norwegian continental shelf did indeed hit a plateau in 2001 and started soon to decline. However with new major discoveries of additional petroleum resources, including both oil and gas, this amazing period of the Norwegian petroleum-age has been extended further into the 21st century.

Now it is expected that petroleum production (combined production of oil and natural gason the Norwegian shelf will grow somewhat in the coming years (at least until 2023). Then the production will reach the final plateau and start a real and steady decline. And the slope of the decline may become quite steep.

Norway’s population is only close to five million. Yet, Norway is the world’s third largest exporter of oil and gas (after Saudi Arabia and Russia). And there is only one country that produces more petroleum from the continental shelf than Norway, which is Saudi Arabia.

Although Norway describes itself as “a small player in the global crude market”, with its oil production covering about 2% of the current global demand, Norway is the third largest exporter of natural gas in the world. And Norway supplies about ¼ of the EU gas demand.

When having in mind the population of countries, Norway is the second largest petroleum producer (per capita). Only Qatar produces more oil and gas per capita. Other major petroleum producers per capita, are mostly other states at the Persian Gulf, like Kuwait and UAE.

Another interesting fact regarding Norway’s massive petroleum production, is the enormous size of the Norwegian Oil Fund (the Government Pension Fund Global). Last year (2017) the value of the fund reached over 1,000 billion USD.

The Oil Fund of Norway is the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund. With recent decline in share prices, right now the value of the fund may be somewhat lower than 1,000 billion USD. However, most countries and governments accept that Norwegians have done very well with their petroleum wealth. And although Norway may be reaching its peak in petroleum production, the peak of the Oil Fund is probably much farther in the future.