Decision on new Norwegian export line expected end of 2007
A final investment decision is to be made on whether a new pipeline will be built from Norway to either the UK or continental Europe by the end of 2007, Alv Bjørn Solheim, senior vice president supply and infrastructure at Statoil said this month. The pipeline’s capacity would be around 20 billion cubic metres (Gm3) per year, or “more than 60 million cubic meters per day,” Solheim said. The pipeline, if built, is planned to start up in 2011 and would also need a further expansion of the Kollsnes plant.
Speaking on the sidelines of the EAGC in Cannes, Solheim said interest from buyers is “large” both in the UK and on the continent: “We believe that the landing point will be clear next summer.” There are four delivery points being considered: St. Fergus in the UK, Dunkirk in France, Den Helder in the Netherlands and Zeebrugge in Belgium.
Solheim said most customer interest had come from the UK, France and Germany, with some also from Belgium and the Netherlands.
Statoil’s manager of strategy, Tom Therkidsen, had previously commented to journalists that, “one of the things that will play a role is to see whether the UK will manage to attract a lot of LNG.”
“If we now see this winter that LNG for the UK is a good idea and vessels are coming and cargoes are coming into the market so it’s established as a new channel for gas, then the supply situation looks a bit different.”
Statoil will not say at this point how much of the capacity the partners are looking to underwrite with long-term sales contracts. However, Solheim commented: “It is very important to have long-term contracts when you are making a huge investment like this.”
The new pipeline would bring new gas, primarily from the Troll West field, to western Europe, but plans are also being considered for another link from the Halten-Nordland development area further North, to bring more gas to Kollsnes, Solheim said.
The partners in the pipeline will be mainly the existing partners in the Troll field, but ownership is still under discussion, Solheim said. He could not give a cost estimate, although Statoil’s Therkidsen said that the cost would be at least as high as the southern leg of Langeled from Sleipner.
If the new pipeline goes ahead, Solheim predicted that the Norwegian Petroleum Ministry’s forecast of 120 Gm3 of production by 2013 would rise to 140 Gm3.
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