Norwegian oil and gas output stayed steady for the first month of 2014, according to figures from the country’s petroleum directorate.

Oil output was up 6% year on year, despite reduced production from the Draugen, Ekofisk, Gullfaks and Skuld, to 1.57million barresl of oil equivalent.

But gas sales were down 9.9billion standard cubic metres, keeping overall figures on a par with December 2013.

Oil production was ahead of previous predictions by around 2%.

The figures come as Norway said it would open up 61 blocks in the new licencing round.

Seven would be opened in the Norwegian Sea, with the rest across the Barents Sea – 34 of which would be in the arctic regions.

Originally 160 blocks had been nominated by oil firms as potential targets for the 23rd round, with licences to be awarded later this year.