"Tea, anyone?" Easington celebrates the Langeled pipeline

October 15, 2006, 15:00 CEST

A tea party hosted by Gassco along with Hydro and the Langeled partners for the community of Easington on Saturday was a real gas. Some 400 villagers turned out for the event, which ceremoniously marked the hand over of the world's longest subsea pipeline to new operator, Gassco.

"It’s a little sad that it’s over, but we’ve made a lot of friends and we’re very happy everything has been accomplished on time and below budget," said Anne Lycke, Hydro’s Langeled asset manager, sharing a cup of tea with Hilary Wilson, chairwoman of the Easington Parish Council.

Hydro is development operator for the Ormen Lange/Langeled project, while Statoil has managed the Langeled project in cooperation with Hydro. Langeled has been completed at NOK 3 billion below budget.

Gassco officially became operator of the Langeled gas pipeline and the new receiving terminal for Norwegian gas at Easington on September 1. Langeled, which started delivering gas from southern Norwegian fields on Oct. 1, will supply the UK with up to 20 percent of its gas needs for several decades.

Good friends

"I hope you think about your friends in Norway when you heat your tea water with Norwegian gas," said Aud Mork, mayor of Aukra municipality, at the other northern end of the Langeled pipeline.

Mork attended the tea party with several sixth graders from Julsundet and Solem schools, who sang a song together with Easington Primary School pupils.

East Riding of Yorkshire’s official town crier mustered villagers for the tea party and introduced speakers. A local brass band performed Beatles tunes while clowns and magicians entertained the many children present. A buffet was served – and of course, there was tea.

Mork presented Easington with the gift of two candlesticks made from Norwegian pewter. "We give you our light!" she said, adding she was saddened by the news of Easington mayor Barney Moverley’s recent passing.

"Langeled literally connects Norway and the UK together and represents the strong bonds between our two countries," said Lycke. "I want to thank Easington. It is only between good friends, through open dialog and discussion, that we can improve – and you have helped us immeasurably to improve the Langeled project."

Maintaining goodwill

Gassco vice president of technical operations, Trond Nordal, announced the establishment of a NOK 1 million (UK £82,000) maintenance fund by Hydro and the Langeled partners for Easington’s community center. The Langeled consortium recently built and opened the new Easington Community Hall to replace a former wooden structure erected 70 years ago.

"I still have to pinch myself to believe it when I see the new hall," said Wilson, who thanked Hydro and the Langeled partners for taking Easington’s concerns seriously and their "positive commitment to limiting any possible risks to the community."

"As ever, Anne, you do things with style and make friends wherever you go," said local UK parliamentary representative, Graham Stuart, referring to Lycke.