Statoil submits plan for larger Kvitebjørn pipeline off Norway

Statoil AS has given Norway's Minister of Petroleum and Energy a proposal to boost capacity in the gas pipeline planned for its North Sea Kvitebjørn field, the Norwegian state-owned company said Wednesday. The scheme, a supplement to the company's recently submitted plan for installation and operation (PIO) of the line, suggests "more capacity can be achieved without additional cost" by streamlining the pipeline's landfall route to accommodate output from other fields. The proposal for the line cuts the cost of its landfall layout by almost 50% from the PIO figure, to around 200 million kroner ($21.8 million). The capital savings could be used to expand capacity of the gas line to 8.5 billion cu m/year from 6.5 billion cu m/year, leaving total investment "more or less unchanged," said Morten Nesvik, business development manager for the Kvitebjørn project Statoil's revised plans would have the pipeline, which will run to its Kollsnes gas treatment plant near Bergen, carry production from fields near Kvitebjørn and Troll, on top of the gas already handled from the latter development. "That in turn will provide Kollsnes with more feedstock," added Nesvik. Statoil estimated that this area of the Norwegian North Sea holds some 200 billion cu m of unsold gas that is stranded because capacity in the existing transport system is limited. Kvitebjørn holds 52 billion cu m of gas. The field will begin deliveries under existing sales contracts by October 2004.