Sea route for new line
The bulk of the Vestprosess pipeline, the section from Sture to Mongstad in western Norway, is likely to be laid in the sea rather than over land.
A submarine option would extend the route by 15 kilometres, but is being reconsidered because tenders for laying a land line have proved significantly more expensive than originally expected. This reflects pressure on the supplies market in Norway, reports project director Leif Solberg. Earlier calculations found the sea route to be the most expensive option.
Going under water will boost the Vestprosess bill by about 10 per cent. The pipeline from Statoil's Kollsnes gas treatment plant to Mongstad and a processing plant for natural gas liquids are now costed at just under NOK 1.6 billion.
Under the new plans, only 11 kilometres of the line - now measuring 61 kilometres in all - will go over land. The original route would have affected some 200 landowners. As operator, Statoil has already completed negotiations with the latter for the right to lay the planned line across their properties. These owners and the two local authorities of Austerheim and Radøy, which would have been crossed by the line, have been notified of the revised plans.
The authorities are to evaluate the submarine plan, and Statoil is due to produce an impact assessment of this option. Part of the seabed route has already been mapped in connection with earlier work on pipelines from the Troll field.
Mr Solberg expects to be able to maintain the tight schedule, which calls for completion of the whole project by October 1999.