STAVANGER, Norway, Jan 12 (Reuters) - Oil and gas output from Western Europe's top producer Norway will be higher than previously expected in 2017 and 2018 following above-forecast output last year, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) predicted on Thursday.
At the same time the regulator cut its forecast for the industry's investments in 2017 and said it would continue to decline in 2018 before a predicted rebound the following year.
Oil production for 2017 is now expected to hit 93.9 million cubic metres, corresponding to 1.62 million barrels per day and in line with 2016, against a year-ago forecast that output would fall to 87.3 million cubic metres in the current year.
Gas production for 2017 is seen at 114.5 billion cubic metres (bcm), down from 116.8 bcm in 2016, but much higher than the forecast a year ago of 107.9 bcm.
NPD said forecasts were revised up because the fields, through efficiency measures, particularly within drilling of wells and regularity on the facilities, produced more than previously presumed.
The directorate also expects several projects to start production earlier than previously anticipated, it added. (Reporting by Nerijus Adomaitis, editing by Terje Solsvik and Stine Jacobsen)