Sound route approved
The solution proposed by Statoil for protecting part of its Åsgard Transport pipeline has been accepted by Norway's Ministry of Fisheries.
The Åsgard Transport route across the Karm Sound.
This approval relates to the section of the new gas trunkline which will cross the heavily trafficked Karm Sound between the landfall site on Karmøy island north of Stavanger and Statoil's Kårstø gas treatment plant.
After conducting studies, the group has concluded that the pipeline must be shielded on both sides of the ship channel to guard against possible damage from sinking ships, emergency anchoring or groundings.
The pipe will be protected with gravel and concrete where it enters the water north of Hydro Aluminium's Karmøy plant and where it emerges on the Fosen peninsula on the other side.
Statoil has also applied to the county authorities under Norway's pollution control legislation for permission to carry out construction work in the sound.
High concentrations of polluting polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) have been found on the seabed around the pipeline route.
Circulated for comment by the county environmental department, Statoil's application outlines several measures to limit the spread of these pollutants.
The aim is to lay the line as carefully as possible, in part by minimising subsea trenching and blasting, says Henning Dale, project director for Åsgard Transport.
Statoil expects to start construction work on 1 May.
Running from the group's Åsgard field in the Norwegian Sea, the trunkline is due to be in operation by the second half of 2000.