First ethane from Kårstø

August 11, 2000, 09:45 CEST

The first ethane produced by Statoil has emerged from a new plant at the Kårstø gas treatment complex north of Stavanger.

This product is extracted from rich gas piped from the Troll field in the North Sea and from Åsgard off mid-Norway.

In full operation, the separation facility will produce 620,000 tonnes of the gas every year for conversion to polyolefins.

One buyer is the Stenungsund complex operated in western Sweden by the Borealis petrochemical group, owned 50 per cent by Statoil. The other is the Norsk Hydro plants at Rafnes and Herøya south of Oslo.

Plans call for the first consignment of ethane to be shipped from Kårstø at the end of the month.

"Start-up of the plant has progressed without complications so far," says project manager Nils Kristian Strøm in European Gas.

"But we're pursuing test production at the moment, so it will take time to fill the 25,000 cubic metre storage tank."

He explains that an ethane plant formed part of the original plans for Kårstø, which was built in the mid-1980s as part of the Statpipe gas trunkline system.

But the Teesside terminal in the UK has so far met market needs. Declining output from this facility made it possible to realise the Kårstø project.

The ethane plant is owned by the Etanor investment company, which belongs to Statoil, Shell, Hydro, Conoco, Mobil and the state's direct financial interest (SDFI). Construction has been handled by the Statpipe group.

Navion , the company part-owned by Statoil, and Norwegian shipowner Solvang are each responsible for shipping out half the ethane.