• Test shows Sverdrup can safely raise output
  • European demand soared after Russia sanctions

OSLO, May 23 (Reuters) - Equinor (EQNR.OL) has performed a capacity test at its Johan Sverdrup oilfield, Europe's largest, showing it can produce up to 755,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd), the Norwegian energy company said on Tuesday.

"This equals 6-7% of daily European oil consumption," Equinor said in a statement, adding that it aims to keep output near that level.

The Sverdrup field has become the clear winner in the race to replace Russian oil at Europe's refineries after Western nations imposed sanctions on Moscow over the war in Ukraine, traders have told Reuters.

Initially sold mostly to Asia, an EU ban on Russian seaborne oil imposed in December opened up the European market, where the medium-sour Sverdrup grade has become a primary feedstock for refiners in countries such as Germany, Poland and Finland.

In February Equinor said the field was producing 720,000 bpd and that the company planned to test volumes of up to 755,000 bpd.

The capacity test, carried out with no problems, was a milestone for the field, Equinor said.

Johan Sverdrup and Russian Urals oil are both medium-sour grades with high diesel yields, with the Norwegian grade very close in quality to its Russian competitor, oil market analysts say.

As well as oil, Sverdrup produces natural gas amounting to 31,500 barrels of oil equivalent, Equinor added.

Operator Equinor has a 42.6% stake in Sverdrup, while partner Aker BP (AKRBP.OL) has 31.6%, state-owned Petoro 17.4% and TotalEnergies (TTEF.PA) 8.4%.

Reporting by Terje Solsvik Editing by David Goodman

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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