Gassco assesses gas pipeline routes to Europe

March 14, 2007
Norway's state-owned Gassco AS is evaluating pipeline routes to bring Norwegian North Sea gas to Europe.

Uchenna Izundu
International Editor

LONDON, Mar. 14 -- Norway's state-owned Gassco AS is evaluating pipeline routes to bring Norwegian North Sea gas to Europe. The company will publish its concept selection in May, a senior Gassco official said Mar. 9. The company will make a final investment decision in December.

Speaking at a press briefing in London, Jan Hauge, Gassco's executive vice-president for product management, said the three possible landing points for the pipeline are St. Fergus in northeast Scotland, Zeebrugge in Belgium, or Den Helder in the Netherlands. St. Fergus would be the cheapest option as it is the shortest distance.

Gassco wants to take gas from Troll field, but the proposal is proving controversial because Troll partner Norsk Hydro ASA is worried that gas production would reduce pressure needed for recovering oil from the field. Gassco is investigating the design challenges inherent in increasing gas production without having a negative effect on Troll's oil production. "It will require sophisticated technological work," Hauge added.

Hydro plans to increase oil production by more than 30% to 2 billion bbl and has developed Troll's oil resources using more than 110 horizontal wells. Hydro is also assessing whether it is possible to accelerate gas recovery from the eastern part of Troll field while simultaneously preparing for increased oil recovery from the western section.

Hauge declined to give estimates on the capacity of the pipeline or its length, saying information is being assessed and will be published in May. Gassco representatives also said there has been much political interest in the pipeline, particularly from the UK, as security of supply in Europe is a top priority. One of the other issues to determine would be tariff levels in each landing point.

A possible start-up date for operations is 2011, although Hauge stressed that the pipeline could be postponed if conditions are not right.

Contact Uchenna Izundu at [email protected].