Hydro signs EMC to Vesterled project deal

Norway's Norsk Hydro ASA has awarded European Marine Contractors Ltd. the $8.7 million contract to build and install the Vesterled pipeline, which will tie together the Norwegian gas network and the Frigg Norwegian Association pipeline in the Norwegian North Sea. The fast-track contract, which includes an option for installation of the pipeline for the Norskpipe project, will be carried out during the second and third quarters of 2001.


LONDON�Norway's Norsk Hydro ASA has awarded European Marine Contractors (EMC) Ltd. the $8.7 million contract to build and install the Vesterled pipeline, which will link together the Norwegian gas network and the Frigg Norwegian Association (FNA) pipeline in the Norwegian North Sea.

The fast-track contract, which includes an option for installation of the pipeline for the Norskpipe project, will be carried out during the second and third quarters of 2001.

Once in place in water depths of 110-125 m, the a 53.5-km long, 32-in. Vesterled pipe will tie in the "entire Norwegian gas transport network" to the UK via the St Fergus terminal in Scotland, according to Hydro. The company said "substantial" gas volumes would be available from Norway after 2007.

The Vesterled pipeline will have an annual capacity of 11 billion cu m. The project is budgeted to cost $101 million and includes part of the investment need to build a new riser platform at Heimdal.

EMC's workscope will involve the company's semisubmersible laybarge Castoro Sei picking up the pipeline approximately 50 km downstream of the Frigg TCP2 platform and installing it towards the Heimdal riser platform.

On of the most "challenging aspects" of the projects, according to EMC, is the recovery of a 27-year old pipeline using a retrieval tool and the installation of a 32 in. diverless tee.

The Vesterled "business idea" sees using Heimdal, which is being transformed from a production platform into a gas center, as a "significant" westerly gas node. "Vesterled will connect the entire Norwegian gas transport network to the UK market, which is immensely attractive to Norwegian gas sellers, and Frigg's pipeline capacity can be used at low cost," said Hydro.

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