Norway to supply more gas to Europe this summer

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Equinor's flag flutters next to the company's headqurters in Stavanger, Norway December 5, 2019. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins

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OSLO, March 16 (Reuters) - Norway will boost its natural gas output in the coming months, keeping production higher than normal through the summer and delivering bigger volumes to Europe at a time of shortages and soaring prices, Equinor (EQNR.OL) said on Wednesday.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has driven up already high gas prices and left European nations scrambling to fill storage depleted by winter consumption and seek alternatives to Russian supply.

By postponing some maintenance and making other adjustments together with pipeline operator Gassco, Equinor will deliver more gas, it said.

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"We can export more gas this summer," Equinor executive Irene Rummelhoff said in a statement.

Adjusted production permits from the Norwegian government will allow the Oseberg field to increase gas exports by about 1 billion cubic metres (bcm) in the year to Sept. 30, while the Heidrun field can increase output by 0.4 bcm this year.

Equinor said that 1.4 billion cubic metres of gas is enough to satisfy gas demand from about 1.4 million European homes for a year.

The Troll field, the North Sea's largest source of gas, can also increase output in the event that other fields face outages, thus improving overall robustness of supply, the company added.

Equinor said it was also looking at options to increase gas production from fields off Norway in the short term, though its long-term production outlook remains unchanged. read more

Equinor has previously decided to sell more gas from its Gina Krog field this winter, instead of using it to pump more oil, and other companies are considering similar measures.

In 2021, Norway's gas production amounted to 113 bcm, supplying close to a quarter of gas demand in the European Union and Britain.

While Norwegian oil and gas fields are producing at nearly 100% capacity, the mix between oil and gas can be adjusted in some cases. The government sets quotas for fields to ensure the country is able to maximise output over time.

Norway pumps about 4 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, divided almost equally between oil and natural gas.

The country exports about 95% of its gas via an extensive subsea pipeline network linking it to terminals in Germany, Britain, France and Belgium. A new pipe to Poland will be completed this year. read more

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Reporting by Nerijus Adomaitis Writing by Terje Solsvik Editing by Jason Neely and David Goodman

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