Norwegian government approves Equinor-led Snøhvit Future project

Aug. 8, 2023
Equinor Energy AS and Snøhvit partners received approval from the Norwegian government to proceed with the Snøhvit Future project.

Equinor Energy AS and Snøhvit partners received approval from the Norwegian government to proceed with the Snøhvit Future project.

The Norwegian government has approved plans for future operation of Snøhvit and Hammerfest LNG (HLNG) at Melkøya Island in northern Norway, subject to certain conditions. The approval entails onshore compression from 2028, and electrification of the plant from 2030. A plan for development and operation (PDO) of the project, Snøhvit Future, was submitted to the Minister of Petroleum and Energy in 2022 (OGJ Online, Dec. 20, 2022).

The companies plan to invest NOK 13.2 billion to upgrade HLNG. The project involves gas onshore compression to provide enough flow from the reservoir to extend plateau production and maintain high gas exports from HLNG beyond 2030 toward 2050, as well as electrification.

Electrification of Hammerfest LNG will replace today's gas turbines with electricity from the grid with the aim of reducing CO2 emissions by around 850,000 tonnes/year.

Compared with the partnership's application, the authorities have postponed the start of electrification by 2 years, to 2030 from 2028. The plant will continue to run on gas turbines during this period with an assessment made regarding the need for gas turbines as back-up power by 2028 at the latest. With the approval, the option for gas turbines to be used for back-up power remains until 2033.

The Snøhvit Future project triggers an increased need for power and a strengthened grid, Equinor said, noting that the government also approved Statnett's license application for a power cable (420 kV) between Skaidi and Hyggevatn, and Equinor's license application for a power cable (132 kV) between Hyggevatn and Melkøya.

Equinor is operator of the Snøhvit license with 36.79%. Partners are Petoro AS (30.00%), TotalEnergies EP Norge AS (18.40%), Neptune Energy Norge AS (12.00%), and Wintershall Dea Norge AS (2.81%).