New gas distributor established

December 8, 2003, 14:00 CET

Called Naturgass Øst AS, it will cover the county of Østfold between the Oslo Fjord and the Swedish border and aims to start gas deliveries to industry in 2006.

The Storting (parliament) is due to consider national policy on future use of natural gas in Norway during the first half of next year.

In that connection, efforts are being made to clarify the commercial basis for creating a chain to supply this commodity to Østfold and other parts of the country.

Expectations are that it will be possible to reach a final decision on launching such ventures in mid-2004.

The idea is to build a network of receiving stations for liquefied natural gas (LNG) along the Norwegian coast, serviced by specially-built vessels.

Construction of these installations depends on a substantial customer base, and several companies with the same objectives as Naturgass Øst have been founded in various coastal areas.

“Negotiations have already been initiated with potential industrial customers in Østfold,” reports Arvid Martinussen, president of the new company.

“The county has an industrial base with a substantial demand for heat which can be met by natural gas. It represents Norway’s biggest non-feedstock market for this commodity.”

Studies have indicated that Østfold could support potential annual deliveries of more than 100 million cubic metres of natural gas, or over a billion kilowatt-hours (one TWh).

Corresponding to the energy consumption of more than 40,000 Norwegian detached homes, this gas will be transported from receiving terminal to customer by pipeline or road tanker.

Naturgass Øst places great emphasis on exploiting the expertise and resources of its owners, with Østfold Energi contributing broad know-how about the local energy market.

Statoil is a major player in the Norwegian oil and gas market, and a leading international energy company with long experience of producing, transporting and marketing natural gas.

The new company is also keen to cooperate with the county council as well as local authorities, industry associations and organisations in Østfold.

With natural gas on the political agenda in Norway, many people have welcomed the creation of Naturgass Øst as an important step in the right direction.