June 19 (UPI) -- Maintenance work at 10 different oil fields on the Norwegian continental shelf meant output was more than 10 percent lower than expected, the government said.
The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate, the nation's energy regulator, reported a preliminary rate of production from May of 1.29 barrels of oil. Including natural gas liquid and condensate, an ultra-light type of petroleum product, production last month averaged 1.63 million bpd, about a quarter million bpd less than April.
"Oil production is approximately 11 percent lower than the NPD's forecast, and about 5 percent below the forecast this year," the agency's statement read. "The main reasons that production in May was below forecast is maintenance work and technical problems on some fields."
An NPD spokesperson listed 10 fields under maintenance in May in an emailed response to UPI questions. Of those, the Troll field may be the most significant. The field in 2016 reached its 1 billionth barrel of oil after 20 years in production.
The NPD's release came one day after the government offered 11 companies 12 production licenses offshore. Of those, nine are in the Barents Sea. Around 60 percent of the undiscovered resources are in those Norwegian waters.
After the licensing round, Norwegian energy company Equinor, co-owned by the government, said the opening ensured stable production from one of Europe's largest suppliers of oil and natural gas.
"We have a clear ambition of maintaining profitable production at today's level on the Norwegian continental shelf until 2030 and beyond," Arne Sigve Nylund, Equinor's executive vice president for development and production Norway, said in a statement.