Equinor says Sverdrup oil field output now at around 350,000 bpd

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STAVANGER, Norway (Reuters) - Oil production at Norway’s giant Johan Sverdrup oilfield has risen to around 350,000 barrels per day (bpd), operator Equinor told Reuters on Tuesday.

The North Sea field, which began output on Oct. 5, is now western Europe’s largest oil producer with output exceeding fields such as Equinor’s Troll and ConocoPhillips’ Ekofisk in Norway and Britain’s Buzzard, operated by a unit of China’s CNOOC.

The production ramp-up is progressing “very well” and Equinor’s goal of reaching phase-one capacity of 440,000 bpd in the summer of 2020 remains unchanged, said Arne Sigve Nylund, the company’s head of Norwegian output.

Equinor’s partner Lundin Petroleum, which discovered Sverdrup in 2010, has said two to four new production wells could be needed to reach full capacity. Eight wells were drilled before the field’s startup in October.

Svedrup’s oil loading program showed 19 cargoes are expected in January, totaling 11.8 million barrels or 381,000 bpd, up from an expected 337,000 bpd in December, analysts at DNB Markets said last week.

Daily production is expected to peak at 660,000 barrels after phase two development comes on stream in late 2022.

At its peak, Sverdrup is expected to produce about 30% of all oil on the Norwegian continental shelf, Equinor has said.

Equinor holds a 42.6% stake, Lundin 20%, Petoro 17.36%, Aker BP 11.57% and Total 8.44% percent.

Reporting by Nerijus Adomaitis, editing by Terje Solsvik and Kirsten Donovan