BP seeks to secure natural gas supplies across North Sea's UK-Norway border

BP PLC last month solicited other North Sea operators to gauge interest in promoting new links across the UK-Norway border with the North Sea's existing pipeline infrastructure.

By OGJ editors

HOUSTON, Sept. 17 -- In a move to secure a "competitive future" for natural gas supplies to the UK from Norway, BP PLC last month solicited other North Sea operators to gauge interest in promoting new links across the UK-Norway border with the North Sea's existing pipeline infrastructure.

"The UK is expected to become a net importer of gas from 2005, with Norway as one of the major potential suppliers," BP stated, adding that its proposal will "focus on providing new cross-border linkages between existing pipelines to ensure competitive, secure, and flexible transportation for significant volumes of Norwegian gas."

Cooperation between the UK and Norway is at "unprecedented levels," according to Scott Urban, BP group vice-president, North Sea. And, by 2005, BP said that existing UK infrastructure would have "significant excess capacity," which would be "more than sufficient to meet the needs of Norwegian gas suppliers, as well as continuing to provide transportation facilities for potential new oil and gas developments in UK waters."

This excess capacity, BP noted, would allow for low-cost enhancements to be made to the existing pipeline infrastructure. "Linking existing infrastructure could meet the anticipated supply of new gas from Norway for the medium term," Urban said. "After that, additional new pipeline capacity may be required, depending on the needs of the gas market."

Within 3 months, BP hopes to develop detailed plans with input from the UK and Norwegian governments, gas suppliers, and pipeline owners.

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