Big Russian interest in Snøhvit

September 29, 2005, 10:15 CEST

Statoil’s Snøhvit development in the Barents Sea is attracting attention in Russia, and several delegations from that country have already visited the Hammerfest LNG plant in northern Norway.

At the same time, Statoil is participating in various cross-border collaboration projects with the Russians.

“They’re very interested in our choice of development solution for bringing Arctic gas to new markets and the technology advances which will make this possible,” says Henrik Carlsen.

He is head of Statoil’s commitment in the Barents area, and also emphasises that the group has things to learn from the Russians.

An agreement with Russia’s Gazprom on sharing experience and developing advanced technology lays the basis for a collaboration which can benefit both sides.

Russian technology has already been adopted in a Snøhvit context, with NGKS providing internal inspection of the wellstream pipeline from field to land earlier in the autumn.

“This company submitted the best bid and the best technology solution,” says Mr Carlsen.

A special training programme will secure qualified personnel for possible future developments in the Russian sector of the Barents Sea.

Almost 250 Russians in various trades will take part, with practical experience being acquired through participation in the Hammerfest LNG development on Melkøya.

Statoil is backing the programme in cooperation with north Norwegian company Kimek Offshore, the Barents Secretariat and Innovation Norway.

To strengthen regional cooperation, Statoil has concluded a frame agreement with Murmansk county in Russia on a collaboration programme.

This will embrace motor fuel deliveries, exploration, supplier development, emergency response and safety work as well as various environmental activities.

The group is working to establish a similar agreement with Arkhangelsk county.

“Both sides have a common interest in strengthening our level of activity in north-western Russia,” says Mr Carlsen. “We both also want to encourage further cooperation.”

Local and regional economic spin-offs from the Snøhvit development have also attracted interest from the Russian side.

Snøhvit is the first field to be developed in Norway’s Barents Sea sector, and Europe’s first export facility for liquefied natural gas. The project comes on stream in 2007.