The Snøhvit license partners have carried out studies for the expansion of the gas export capacity from Melkøya. The increased capacity would enable accelerated gas production of increased reserves in the Snøhvit license, together with existing discoveries in the area.
Norwegian oil major Statoil is operator and holds the largest share of the license.
Thorough studies have been carried out of both an LNG train II and a pipeline solution. The license has not determined whether LNG or a pipeline solution is the best concept for a potential capacity increase at a future date.
The existing Snøhvit field holds enough gas to keep the plant running for another 15 years.
The possibility of producing increased reserves in existing trains has been an alternative throughout the process, in addition to the two concepts for capacity increase. With new gas discoveries increased capacity may again be considered.
The Snøhvit license will in the immediate future focus on optimizing and upgrading the existing LNG facility on Melkøya (Train I) and further developing Snøhvit through phases 2-4 for Train I.
"There will be major investments associated with phases 2 – 4, which include the development of Askeladd and a future compression solution," says Øystein Michelsen, executive vice president for Development and production Norway in Statoil in a press release. In total, the installation of five new subsea templates and a total of 12 production wells are planned.
Snøhvit was the first petroleum development in the Barents Sea. Large volumes of natural gas are transported through a 143-kilometre pipeline to shore and cooled at Europe's first production facility for Liquefied Natural Gas, Hammerfest LNG on Melkøya.
Snøhvit is the first major development on the Norwegian shelf where the entire production facility is placed on the seabed, between 250 and 345 metres below the sea surface.
Partners in the Snøhvit project are Statoil (36.79%) (operator), Petoro (30%), Total E&P Norge (18.40%), GDF SUEZ E&P Norge (12%) and RWE Dea Norge (2.81%).