OSLO, Norway, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- The director of the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate said it "might be a challenge" to meet production targets for the year.
The organization said it had expected to produce around 1.6 million barrels of oil per day for 2012. It said total oil production on the Norwegian continental shelf has increased since September but is 12 percent below the forecast for October. It blamed much of the decline on regular maintenance and "technical problems" at several offshore fields.
"The oil production is also about 3.0 percent below the cumulative prognosis this year," NPD Director of Forecasting Jan Bygdevoll said in a statement. "Since the prognosis for the remaining year is relatively high, it might be a challenge to meet the oil production target for 2012."
Total petroleum reserves on the Norwegian continental shelf last year were estimated at about 80 billion barrels of oil equivalent. About 60 percent of that hasn't been extracted.
The Norwegian Petroleum Safety Authority had said that, given the rush to gain access to offshore reserves, it was worried about "what would happen if something snaps." The regulator said work meant to extend the life of offshore fields could add another layer of burden to normal maintenance procedures.
Norway is the largest oil producer in Europe and the second-largest exporter of natural gas after Russia.