The Aasta Hansteen field initially comprised three separate discoveries: Luva (1997), Haklang and Snefrid South (1998). Submitted to Norwegian authorities in January 2013, the plan for development and operation (PDO) was approved in June the same year. In 2015 a new discovery was made in the area, Snefrid North, which will now be tied in to the Aasta Hansteen field.
The combined reserves of Aasta Hansteen and Snefrid North are estimated at 55.6 billion standard cubic-metres (Sm3) of gas and 0.6 million Sm3 of condensate (353 million barrels of oil equivalent).
Aasta Hansteen came on stream 16 December 2018 and Snefrid North towards the end of 2019. Gas is transported in the Polarled pipeline to the Nyhamna terminal for further export to the UK. Produced condensate is loaded onto shuttle tankers and transported to the markets. At plateau Aasta Hansteen and Snefrid North are expected to produce some 23 million Sm3 of gas (144 000 barrels of oil equivalent) per day. The field will reach plateau relatively soon after start-up, the plateau period lasting through the gas year 2023.
Aasta Hansteen strengthens the position of Equinor and the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) as a long-term, reliable supplier of gas to the Continent and the UK. Seeing strong demand for natural gas Equinor looks forward to bringing gas from a new Norwegian gas province to the markets. With infrastructure in place, exploration around the platform and along the pipeline will also be more attractive. The exploration activity in the area around the field has already increased, and several discoveries have been made.
Set in 1300 metres of water Aasta Hansteen is the deepest field development on the NCS. The development concept includes three subsea templates producing to the floating platform with a vertical cylindrical hull moored to the seabed (spar platform). A first on the NCS, this is also the largest spar platform in the world, and the first with storage tanks for condensate on board. The Snefrid North development concept will consist of a subsea template tied in to the Aasta Hansteen field.
The 70 000-tonne, 339-metre tall platform was towed to the field in April 2018, the biggest tow-out operation on the NCS since Troll A in 1995.
The Aasta Hansteen field will be run from Harstad by Equinor’s Operations North organisation. The supply base will be located in Sandnessjøen and the helicopter base in Brønnøysund.
The field has been named after another pioneer: women’s rights advocate and activist, painter and author Aasta Hansteen.
Polarled is a new 482-kilometre gas pipeline from Aasta Hansteen to Nyhamna in Møre og Romsdal county. The plan for installation and operation was submitted and approved at the same time as the Aasta Hansteen PDO in 2013. The pipeline installation completed in September 2015, Polarled provides an export solution for gas from both Aasta Hansteen and other fields in the Norwegian Sea. The project includes expansion of the Gassco-operated plant at Nyhamna. Preparations have been made for the tie-in of existing and future discoveries in the area.