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Gas from the Norwegian continental shelf is a reliable and competitive source of energy. We sell natural gas to customers across Europe. In addition to being cost-effective and competitive, natural gas is also an attractive source of energy from an environmental perspective, as it emits between 50 and 65 per cent less CO2 in energy production than coal.

Equinor produces gas equivalent to the gas consumption of more than 50 million European households.

During energy production, gas emits only half of the CO2 of coal. Carbon capture and storage can reduce emissions still further. 

The total length of the network of gas transport pipelines on the NCS is equivalent to the distance from Oslo to Beijing, 11,880 kilometres.

Equinor’s gas operations

LNG tank boat outside of Melkøya

Equinor is the largest gas producer on the Norwegian continental shelf, and the second-largest gas supplier in Europe. The gas volumes from Equinor and the State’s Direct Financial Interest on the Norwegian continental shelf (SDFI)—which Equinor also markets—constitute more than 20 per cent of the gas market in Europe (EU28). The company develops and participates in a number of important gas value chains worldwide.

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In Europe, our most important markets for gas are Germany, England and France. Equinor also sells liquid natural gas (LNG) from the Snøhvit field in the Barents Sea, transported by specialised ships to customers worldwide. The global LNG market is growing, and we are now supplying LNG cargoes to more than 20 countries.

In the USA, Equinor has shares and production in three premium shale oil and gas plays: Marcellus, Eagle Ford and Bakken. Gas is used for energy production, heating and industrial purposes. Through transport agreements to New York City and Toronto, residents can keep winter temperatures at bay with shale gas from the Marcellus field. 

Equinor’s gas sales to Europe* (bcm 2014)

* Incl. SDFI volumes – based on delivery location, not consumption/end-user location

In Algeria, Equinor operates the In Salah gas field and the gas and condensate field In Amenas together with BP and Algeria's state-owned oil and gas company, Sonatrach. We are also the operator for the Hassi Mouina exploration licence, with Sonatrach as our partner.

Equinor has sales offices for gas in Stavanger, Brussels (Belgium), London (Great Britain) and Stamford (USA). In addition to selling our own gas, we also sell the Norwegian government's gas volumes. With the government's gas from State's Direct Financial Interest on the Norwegian continental shelf (SDFI) and our own gas combined, we are in charge of marketing and selling about 70 per cent of gas from the Norwegian continental shelf.

Traditionally, most of Equinor's gas has been sold through long-term contracts to large European gas companies and suppliers. In the absence of a separate market price for gas, the sale price has often been indexed to the price of oil.

In recent years, market liberalisation has contributed to breaking up traditional value chains in Europe. The transport network has been opened up for use on equal terms for everyone. This has given us new opportunities in this market. We are now selling an increasing share of the gas through established markets for gas trading—so-called hubs—as well as directly to end-users.

Through commercial negotiations with our counterparts, we have modernised most of our long-term contracts, and gradually moved away from oil indexing. The price of gas is now directly linked to the price in the market places.

What is natural gas?

When people talk about natural gas, you may hear them use a number of terms that refer to different types of gas, such as dry gas, wet gas and LNG. Natural gas is an umbrella term for a type of gas that has formed through the decomposition and transformation of organic matter below the surface of the earth. The gas may be composed of a number of chemical substances with different characteristics. Most of the substances are composed of hydrogen and carbon atoms and >we therefore call them hydrocarbons. 

Gas pipeline image from Kårstø


Dry gas is gas that at regular pressure and temperature does not contain any liquid components. It consists mainly of methane, but also often consists of some ethane and smaller amounts of heavier hydrocarbons and CO2. Such gas is also called pipeline gas and is transported in pipelines to the customers.

Picture of people working at Kollsnes gas processing plant


Wet gas contains both dry gas and heavier hydrocarbon compounds in a liquid phase. In addition to ethane, this means propane, butane and the heavier hydrocarbons. Under normal pressure and temperature, the wet gas will be partly liquid, partly gas. To get dry gas, the liquid phase is separated and split, and sold as pure components (ethane, propane, butane, etc.).

LNG tanker outside of Melkøya


LNG is an abbreviation of liquefied natural gas, i.e. natural gas that has been liquefied by cooling it down. LNG maintains a very low temperature (-162 degrees C) and is transported in special LNG carrier ships to the customers. 

Photo of workers at site at Marcellus, Ohio


The natural gas and oil found in shale and other tight rock formations are the same as the oil and gas found in other rock strata such as sandstone or limestone. Shale is a common type of rock, found in most countries and it can contain both oil and gas. Since the 1940s the Americans have been aware of their large deposits of gas within the shales, but they were unable to extract it in a profitable manner until relatively recently, when new technology has made it possible to produce shale gas on a large scale and reduced costs. 

Shale gas

A gas revolution has taken place in the USA and the country is now extracting shale gas from large reserves which has contributed to revolutionising the energy market and given the market increased confidence in natural gas. In the USA, Equinor holds positions and is an operator in three of the premium shale gas and oil plays, has entered into transport agreements with infrastructure owners and sells its own shale gas.

Why natural gas?

In addition to being cost-effective and flexible in its application, natural gas is also an attractive source of energy from an environmental perspective. When used for energy production, natural gas emits between half and one third of the CO2 emissions of coal-fired power plants with the same electricity production.

The most common uses for gas are heating, cooking, energy production and industrial use. There is also a limited but growing use in transport.

Natural gas is especially beneficial within energy-intensive industries. In chemical industries, natural gas is not only useful as an energy carrier, but also as a necessary raw material for the production of medicines, fertilisers and plastic.

Vehicles running on natural gas have 20 to 30 per cent lower CO2 emissions than those running on petrol. Both liquid and compressed gas can be used. Liquid gas is mainly used for heavy transport and shipping, while compressed gas is used in private cars, commercial vehicles and public transport. Worldwide, there are currently nearly 20 million vehicles running on natural gas.

Natural gas is also useful in conjunction with renewable energy sources. Since renewable energy from solar and wind is intermittent, gas can provide a stable base load of electric power.

Equinor anticipates that the world's overall demand for natural gas will grow in the coming decades, mainly due to increasing demand for gas in Asia, and especially in China, as well as the positive climate effects of replacing coal with gas in energy production.

Norwegian gas in Europe

Norway is currently the second-largest supplier of gas to the European gas market, and when European consumers turn on their gas cookers and get heat, it is thanks to the safety and reliability of Norwegian gas.

All fields on the Norwegian continental shelf contain varying quantities of gas. In the beginning, gas from the first fields to be developed was sold through lifespan contracts in which operators and buyers entered contracts for the entire operational life of the field. The gas is now marketed through several sales channels, including the spot market, through long-term contracts or directly to end-users such as power plants or industry.

Picture of Troll A beeing towed to sea in 1995

GENTLE GIANT in A political gambit

Equinor is the operator of the Troll field, one of the world's largest gas fields at sea, with more than 1,400 billion cubic metres of gas. In 1986, Equinor, together with the other owners of the field, signed the largest energy contract ever with the gas companies in Western Europe. The original contract was intended to last for 30 years and was to cover deliveries of about 450 billion cubic metres of natural gas, in other words one-third of the total reserves of Troll and more than the annual consumption of the entire EU. In recent years, however, the original contract has been dissolved and re-negotiated, both in terms of volumes and price mechanisms. 

Gas production

Natural Gas history infographic

Equinor markets 65-70% of all gas from the Norwegian continental shelf

natural gas transportation PIPELINE SYSTEMS

Natural gas from the Norwegian continental shelf runs through an extensive network of pipelines. It is the largest in the world of its kind, extending over 8,000 kilometres.

The pipelines connect the fields at sea and the processing plants onshore in Norway to landing points in Germany, Belgium, France and Great Britain.

Equinor is technical service provider for the operator and responsible for the technical operation for most of these pipelines.

Owner: the Gassled partnership
Operator: Gassco
Technical service provider: Equinor


Equinor has two gas storage facilities: Etzel in Germany and Aldbrough in Great Britain.

Natural gas from a climate perspective

Did you know that Europe can cut CO2 emissions by moving from coal to natural gas in its energy production? The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states that replacing coal with gas in the energy sector will be an important measure in reducing global CO2 emissions. In a world facing major climate challenges, we believe that natural gas must play a key role.

Natural gas is a source of energy with many advantages. It is the most flexible, usable and carbon-efficient fossil energy source, and it is inexpensive and abundantly available.

Demand for gas in Europe is expected to remain stable, while the International Energy Agency (IEA) expects an annual global growth of 1.4 per cent until 2040.

Most industrialised countries are major consumers of gas, and a significant increase in demand is expected in Asia, Latin-America and Africa in the decades to come. By building LNG import terminals, a country can increase its access to energy significantly in the course of a few years. For countries undergoing economic development, increased access to energy may be key to economic growth.

In Europe—Equinor’s core market—gas demand has declined in recent years, especially in the power sector where gas is being ousted by cheap coal and subsidised renewable energy.  About 75 per cent of emissions in the European energy sector derive from coal.

If five coal-fired power plants are replaced by five gas-based power plants, the reductions in CO2 emissions are equivalent to a 9,000 megawatt wind farm. This is three times as much wind power as was installed onshore in Germany in 2013. 

When used to heat homes or in industry, natural gas emits 25 to 30 per cent less CO2 than oil.

We expect the demand for gas for power production to recover in the next two decades, primarily as a result of more stringent European climate policies.  

Crossing the Arctic Circle with Polarled

In a development of great strategic importance in the region of Møre and Romsdal in Norway, the 480-kilometre Polarled pipeline will convey gas from the Aasta Hansteen field in the Norwegian Sea to the gas plant at Nyhamna.

Picture of the boat Solitaire

There has been no gas infrastructure in this part of the Norwegian Sea until now, and work on various solutions for gas transport has been ongoing for several years. The new pipeline therefore opens an entirely new area for gas extraction, and will stimulate exploration and resource development which in time can further strengthen Equinor's position as an exporter of gas to Europe. As operator for the development of Polarled we have also been responsible for laying the pipeline between Aasta Hansteen and Nyhamna. Once the pipeline is operational, Gassco will take over as operator for the pipeline and for the Nyhamna gas plant.

We completed the laying of the Polarled gas pipeline in the autumn of 2015, and with its completion,  Norwegian gas infrastructure crossed the Arctic Circle for the first time.

The development of the Aasta Hansteen field is one of the largest and most complex industrial projects in Europe and the first deepwater project in the Norwegian Sea. The field is being developed with a so-called spar platform, which will be the largest of its kind in the world, as well as the first platform of this type on the Norwegian continental shelf.

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The starting point is at the Aasta Hansteen field, 1,300 metres below the surface of the sea, with a pipeline diameter of 91cm

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480 kilometres long, terminating at the Nyhamna processing plant in Møre and Romsdal 

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Polarled represents the first crossing of the Arctic Circle by Norwegian gas infrastructure

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Capacity will be up to 70 million standard cubic metres a day to the plant at Nyhamna

Terminals and refining

The gas processing plants at Kårstø north of Stavanger and at Kollsnes outside of Bergen play a key role in processing and transport. This is where most of the gas from the Norwegian continental shelf is brought ashore for further processing. The process separates out the wet components, such as condensate, ethane, propane, butane and naphtha. These products are then transported to customers worldwide on ships. Dry gas (mainly methane) is transported through the pipeline network to customers in Europe. Equinor is responsible for the technical operation of the plants, while Gassco is the operator.

  • Kalundborg refinery

    Statoil's refinery in Kalundborg, in the North-West of Zealand in Denmark, refines crude oil and condensate into petrol, diesel, propane, heating oil and fuel oil.

  • Melkøya

    Melkøya, outside Hammerfest in Finnmark county, is a facility that receives and processes natural gas from the Snøhvit field in the Barents Sea.

  • Nyhamna

    Nyhamna in Aukra municipality in Møre and Romsdal is one of Northern Europe's largest gas terminals and it is the terminal for gas from Ormen Lange.

REMIT operational data

REMIT operational information on gas production

When Equinor becomes aware of relevant information about the availability or unavailability of facilities for gas production or transport, we will publish this information on our website, to comply with EU Regulation 122/2011 (REMIT). .