Natural gas supplies from Norway may potentially reach a fresh record this year as the country works to reduce its maintenance schedule across its facilities. 

“We could get higher volumes than what we saw last year,” Helge Haugane, senior vice president for gas and power at the Norwegian energy giant Equinor ASA said in an interview in Essen, Germany. “In 2023, there was a lot of maintenance, in 2024 there will be less.”

Norway is Europe’s largest supplier, having exported about 109 billion cubic meters of natural gas to the continent in 2023, according to data from grid operator Gassco AS. The country’s relevance for Europe’s energy security became clear last summer, when unplanned works at some of its facilities sent jitters across markets, just as the region was rebuilding its energy mix following the loss of much of Russia’s pipeline flows.

With the continent’s gas market now impacted by a several global factors, volatility is likely to be a regular feature.

“Russian pipeline gas is practically out for Europe and liquefied natural gas will definitely have a longer response time than pipeline gas,” Haugane said. “And that’s one of the reasons why we expect more volatility going forward.” 

Equinor has been working to increase the capacity of its facilities, including reducing bottlenecks at Kollsnes, that’s “increased capacity from 144 million cubic meters a day to 156,” Haugane said. 

LNG Portfolio

Equinor is also building its liquefied natural gas portfolio, having signed two deals to buy the fuel from Cheniere Energy Inc. and to sell the super-chilled fuel to India’s Deepak Fertilisers.

“We are building an LNG portfolio, with supply from Norway, the US and we have some other deals which we haven’t disclosed,” Haugane said. “And then we want to have a diversified outlet for that LNG as well.”

Demand growth will come from countries looking to replace coal with gas, Haugane said. “India is going to be an even larger player in the future global market.”

Equinor is discussing gas sales “across the board” with “big ones’ which could be concluded soon, he added. “Also, a lot of smaller contracts are being signed, especially in the Baltics region. And we are also in dialog with customers in the industrials segment.”