By the OGJ Online Staff
LONDON, Dec. 12 -- Statoil ASA and five partners have ordered the first of three specialized tankers to transport Europe's first LNG to the US market.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries will build it in Japan, at a cost of 1.5 billion kroner.
The tanker will be operated by Leif Høegh & Co. of Norway and Mitsui OSK Lines Inc. of Japan on behalf of Statoil and five of the other licensees in Snøhvit field in the Barents Sea.
The Norwegian government has a 30% direct financial interest in the project. Statoil, as operator, has 22.29%, TotalFinaElf SA 18.4%, Gaz de France SA 12%, Norsk Hydro ASA 10%, Amerada Hess Corp. 3.26%, RWE-DEA AG 2.81%, and Svenska Petroleum BV 1.24%.
Statoil, Amerada Hess, Norsk Hydro, RWE-DEA, and Svenska Petroleum will place a contract for two additional ships with another shipping company. TotalFinaElf and Gaz de France intend to lift their share of the gas with their own vessels.
A total of 70 LNG cargoes/year will be shipped from the field's planned land terminal at Melkøya near Hammerfest in northern Norway. Existing gas sale agreements involve the annual export of 2.4 billion cu m of gas to customers in the US and 1.6 billion cu m to Spain.
All three vessels will be fully committed to Snøhvit for 20 years from the start of production in 2006, and the contracts include options for extensions.
The technology chosen for the cargo tanks was developed by Norway's Kværner Group in the 1970s. The Snøhvit carriers will be adapted to North Atlantic climatic and environmental conditions.