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Ormen Lange drilling has started

November 1, 2005, 08:00 CET

"West Navigator" has started drilling the first eight production wells on the Ormen Lange field 120 kilometres northwest of Kristiansund.

The wells are being drilled to a depth of about  2,700 metres through the two subsea templates that  were installed in August / September this  year.

Smedvig’s drillship West Navigator, which is equipped for year-round operation, will be dynamically positioned in waters 850 metres deep.

The Ormen Lange gas wells will be the largest deep water wells drilled in the world and will produce 20 percent of UK gas market requirements. The total drilling period for the eight wells will take more than two years.

Shell is responsible for the planning and execution of the drilling program, as well as reservoir management. Hydro is operator for Ormen Lange during the development phase, including all field development, the onshore gas processing plant at Nyhamna in Mid-Norway, as well as the Langeled export pipeline project. Shell will  be operator for the production phase.

In March 2004 the Ormen Lange license group awarded Smedvig the contract valued at approximately NOK 1.17 billion (USD 167 million) for the drilling of wells on the Ormen Lange field. Production start for the Ormen Lange field is planned for October 2007.

Ormen Lange is the largest gas field under development on the Norwegian continental shelf. It is located 100 kilometres off the northwest coast of Norway at water depths of between 850 and 1,100 metres.