Snøhvit still unclarified

March 22, 2002, 08:00 CET

Statoil has been informed that the position between the Norwegian government and the Efta Surveillance Authority (ESA) on the Snøhvit development in the Barents Sea remains unclarified.

This emerges from a letter sent by the ESA.

The partners in the Statoil-operated project will now seek a clarification of the tax position for Snøhvit from the Norwegian authorities. They must have a final clarification by 15 April at the latest to continue the development.

Those partners who have sold their gas to Spain's Iberdrola and El Paso Global LNG Company in the USA have until 22 March to give final confirmation of the contracts.

Agreements have also been reached with shipping companies to build three special carriers for liquefied natural gas. These agreements have the same deadline for final confirmation.

Failure to clarify the framework terms means that these partners can not give final confirmation to the buyers and shipping companies within the deadline.

Statoil is working for a postponement of the deadlines for the confirmation of the sales and shipping contracts.

The partnership will also continue project preparations in accordance with current plans. Work at Melkøya, outside Hammerfest, will not be initiated and new commitments will not be made until the frame conditions with the authorities have been clarified.