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Page added on September 15, 2014

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Denmark – the last of a dying breed


Denmark is the European Union’s (EU) only net exporter of oil. The Nordic state’s oil exports totalled approximately 13.7 million barrels of oil equivalent in 2013. This is in stark contrast to the EU’s only other significant oil producer, the UK, which became a net importer in 2004 and has experienced a steep decline in output since, as its historically productive North Sea fields reach extreme maturity. Denmark has maintained its status as a net exporter despite peak oil production in 2004. A strong shift towards wind power has seen a decrease in oil used for electricity generation while district heating systems traditionally fuelled by oil are now switching to natural gas and renewable sources.

Denmark’s ability to hold on to its status as the EU’s last net exporter is likely to diminish in the long-term. Its North Sea fields continue to stutter and decline in output, seeing production half from a peak of 389,000 bpd in 2004 to just 192,000 bpd in 2014. In 2013, a range of technical issues meant that only 12 of 19 operational fields were producing from August to December. A lack of large discoveries has also inhibited Denmark’s upstream sector, seeing oil reserves fall from 1.3 billion boe in 2006 to 0.8 billion boe in 2013. A lack of fresh developments has also led to a decline in drilling, just eight development wells have been drilled over the last three years. Well completions increase slightly in the medium-term with the development of the high-pressure-high-temperature Hejre field – however DW do not expect this to arrest the production decline.

Based on current trends, DW predict Denmark’s ongoing issues with North Sea developments will see it become a net importer of oil by 2021. By this time, oil production will likely have waned to around 130,000 bpd – the country’s lowest daily output in 30 years.

Energy Global

9 Comments on "Denmark – the last of a dying breed"

  1. Nony on Mon, 15th Sep 2014 12:24 pm 

    Interesting article showing the increase in productivity per rig and the tendancy of new wells to be monsters. Shows the value of incremental learning. There is even an industry veteran making the point that he needs to get up to speed on modern practices.

    Note this contrasts with Rock’s standard “it was all known in the Chalk, nothing has changed” meme.

  2. Plantagenet on Mon, 15th Sep 2014 12:53 pm 

    Denmark will remain the world leader in wind power technology, and there is shale in Denmark that can be fracked for oil, should Denmark decide it wants to stay in the fossil fuel biz.

  3. westexas on Mon, 15th Sep 2014 2:47 pm 

    Based on Denmark’s 2004 to 2013 rate of decline in their ECI Ratio (ratio of production to consumption), Denmark would hit an ECI Ratio of 1.0, and thus zero net oil exports, in 2015.

  4. J-Gav on Mon, 15th Sep 2014 4:15 pm 

    The Danes are rated (by whatever polling standards) to be the Happiest of Europeans – I hope you heard the strained efforts of Pharrell Williams there …

    Don’t mean to be contrary, but I’ve met a number of Danes and they don’t seem all that happy to me. Not necessarily unpleasant, mind you, but not particularly joyful either. Also have at least 3 (French) friends who married Danish women only to see them disappear after multiple child-bearings, without even bothering to give a reason …

    Other friends I know, having traveled to Denmark, found the general mood there less welcoming than in northern Germany – and that takes some doing.

    Can’t generalize from my few ricochet experiences with Danes but I’d be wary of building pedestals to any nation.

    My best Danish friend was an anarchist who fit in so well in southern France that he got himself shot at twice by some extreme right wing-nuts. He wasn’t trying to revolutionize, just lived an ‘alternative’ life-style and defended it publicly.

  5. Bob Owens on Mon, 15th Sep 2014 4:39 pm 

    Denmark is a good example of what we need to do: Bulk up on wind power, keep oil use down with thrifty transport, use efficient building practices everywhere, be thrifty in all your habits. A good creed to live by for any country.

  6. Davy on Mon, 15th Sep 2014 4:50 pm 

    Too late Bob no money no time.

  7. peakyeast on Mon, 15th Sep 2014 5:30 pm 

    Total is trying to find shale-gas – not oil in Denmark and are currently doing test-drilling.

    There is a lot of resistance in Denmark in the population, but the local counties totally ignore that.

    However, they do try to be safe that the environment is not ruined by doing a lot of “VVM” analyses.

    Im born a Dane and have lived here all my life. I do agree that danes are not the friendliest people to foreigners – nor very open. My wife for 14 years – a kenyan – says im very atypical for a dane since i dont give a shit if you are one nationality or another, but treat everyone with the same respect and friendliness. And I would never marry a Danish woman because they are trouble. Snobbish and selfcentered and dont give a shit about anyone but themselves.

    And Yes – I have seen all those surveys saying we are the happiest on earth… And I can only say that if that is the case then humankind is in a very sad state indeed… – Which, of course, it is. I believe its BS. But a lot of danes lie to themselves that they are happy – while eating anti-depressant en masse.

    I think a lot of Danes are living in the past where Denmark really was a fantastic country, but it is not like that today – which is causing a lot of friction since the blame-game is primarily targeting refugees – but also the politicians which more or less are all corrupted to the core and abuses the country for their greed and ambitions in the EU system.

  8. Kenz300 on Mon, 15th Sep 2014 6:11 pm 

    Quote — “A strong shift towards wind power has seen a decrease in oil used for electricity generation while district heating systems traditionally fuelled by oil are now switching to natural gas and renewable sources.”


    Denmark could teach the Ukraine a thing or two about shifting from scarce fossil fuels to alternative energy sources.

  9. Harquebus on Mon, 15th Sep 2014 8:57 pm 

    “alternative energy sources” will become increasingly difficult to manufacture and maintain as conventional energy sources diminish and the economy and infrastructure decay.

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