Studying LNG expansion

June 29, 2005, 10:20 CEST

Studies have been launched by the Snøhvit partners to assess a doubling of capacity for processing and liquefying natural gas at the Hammerfest LNG plant.

Any expansion of this facility on Melkøya island in northern Norway would be conditional on discovering more gas in the Barents Sea.

Currently under development by Statoil, the Snøhvit project provides an annual gas liquefaction capacity of 5.67 billion cubic metres.

“A new processing plant in parallel with the one now under construction could be operational in 2011-12 at the earliest,” says Håkon Larsen, head of licence administration in the Exploration & Production Norway business area.

He hopes that new resources can be found near Snøhvit, in the North Cape Basin, or in new areas of the Barents Sea recently put on offer in Norway’s 19th licensing round.

A possible expansion on Melkøya would mean new offshore installations and another pipeline to shore, as well as new processing installations and associated utilities on land.

Space has already been allocated for extending the existing plant, reports Mr Larsen. Room will also be available for a possible third construction stage.

A Statoil decision to proceed with such a project could first be taken in 2006.

Assuming that enough gas – and thereby an adequate earnings base – can be secured, a plan for development and operation can be submitted to the authorities in 2008 at the earliest.