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Energy ministers visit Snøhvit

July 8, 2005, 11:30 CEST

Chief executive of Statoil, Helge Lund, is hosting a visit by several energy ministers to the Hammerfest LNG plant today, 8 July.

The visitors include Norwegian petroleum and energy minister Thorhild Widvey, European commissioner for energy Andris Piebalgs and US deputy energy secretary David Garman.

During the visit, Mr Lund repeated his message that the Barents Sea could become Europe’s leading offshore oil and gas province by 2020. That was one of the key points in his speech at the Arctic Energy Agenda round-table conference in Kirkenes, Finnmark county, on Thursday 7 July.

“Global energy consumption is increasing, with security of supply becoming an ever more important challenge,” said Mr Lund.

“Dependence on imports will rise in key markets such as Europe and the USA. The Barents Sea can play an important role in achieving the goal of varied and secure energy supplies."

He emphasised that the oil and gas resources in the region must be produced in ways which are compatible with fishing interests, and said that Statoil will do this by applying the strictest requirements to safety and the environment.

Mr Lund also mentioned that the solutions Statoil has developed for the Snøhvit field can be transferred directly to such discoveries as Shtokman in the Russian sector.

“Statoil can offer a combination of technology and market access which I believe will be very attractive for the Russians," he noted.

The ministers are also visiting the Polar Pioneer drilling rig which is drilling the production wells on the Snøhvit field.

The Hammerfest LNG plant on Melkøya island, which will process and liquefy gas from Snøhvit, is Europe's first export facility for liquefied natural gas. It will start deliveries to markets in the USA and southern Europe from 1 October 2006.