Norway's Sverdrup field may start oil shipments ahead of plan: Equinor

FILE PHOTO: A logo of Equinor, formerly known as Statoil, is seen at the company's headquarters in Fornebu, Norway May 21, 2018. REUTERS/Nerijus Adomaitis

OSLO/LONDON (Reuters) - Norway’s Johan Sverdrup field could begin oil shipments in October, earlier than the scheduled November start, an Equinor spokesman said on Friday, adding that oil market participants had been notified.

The first loading programme for the giant Equinor-operated Johan Sverdrup oil field in Norway lists 11 cargoes in October, a trading source said.

This implies that loadings from Johan Sverdrup, the largest North Sea discovery in more than three decades, will average around 226,000 barrels per day (bpd) in October.

The startup of production at Sverdrup will significantly boost the region’s crude shipments and is expected to impact oil prices as well as the cash flow of the field’s owners.

“We’ve issued an early loading schedule that includes Sverdrup cargoes for October,” Equinor spokesman Morten Eek said. “Nothing would please us more than to see production before November, although a November start-up remains our primary expectation.”

Daily production from the field’s first phase is projected to reach peak output of 440,000 bpd of oil in summer 2020, and will likely rise to a peak of 660,000 bpd once the second phase comes on stream in late 2022, Equinor has said.

Shares of Aker BP and Lundin Petroleum, two of the partners in the Sverdrup licence, closed 2.6% and 2.9% up respectively.

Equinor, the field’s operator, gained 0.7% and Total up 0.4%.

Reporting by Terje Solsvik and Nerijus Adomaitis in Oslo and Noah Browning in London; Editing by Kirsten Donovan and Edmund Blair