Norway’s oil production will start climbing again in 2014, after declining since 2000, as new fields are brought on stream, according to a leading analyst.

The bullish prognosis by Jarand Rystad, managing partner of Oslo-based consultancy Rystad Energy, reverses an earlier prediction by the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate that output would fall drastically to 2020.

Production has dropped by almost 50% since peaking at 3.12 million barrels per day in 2000 as veteran fields such as Oseberg, Gullfaks and Draugen have been on the decline.

However, Rystad believes output could rise to as much as 2 million bpd in 2020 as new discoveries, such as the giant Johan Sverdrup field in the North Sea and Skrugard and Havis in the Barents Sea, are brought online, Bloomberg reported.

He said that fields already sanctioned for development, including Goliat and Luno, will be able to keep output flat to 2017, while new fields such as Skrugard-Havis, Draupne, Svalin and Maria will lift the curve towards the end of the decade.

“We believe the oilfields starting up this decade will have double as high production as those that started up in the previous 10 years,” Rystad said.

The positive production prognosis is the result of more discoveries being made than were expected and that older finds can now be developed profitably by using new technology, according to the analyst.

He also pointed to Statoil’s programme of fast-track developments, using standardised equipment to quickly bring on stream marginal finds, as another key factor behind the predicted upswing.

Optimism over a new sunrise for Norway’s offshore industry has been further stimulated by recent results from state holding company Petoro, which reported a rise in oil and gas production in the second quarter to more than 1 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, from 845,000 boepd a year earlier.