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Dozen seek to supply gas

October 2, 1998, 14:15 CEST

Twelve Norwegian offshore licences are seeking to help meet rising gas sales commitments to continental Europe.

At the 1 October deadline for applications to Norway's Gas Supply Committee (FU), six groups announced that they can commit immediately to make deliveries from the end of 1999.

A further six say they will have available capacity which can probably be committed to deliveries at an unspecified later date.

New fields applying in this allocation round include Statoil's Kvitebjørn licence, and the Tune (previously Draken) field operated by Norsk Hydro.

The existing Sleipner and Troll Gas developments, with Statoil as operator, and Norsk Hydro's Oseberg field are seeking to increase their delivery commitment.

"We'll also be assessing how much Troll Gas is actually capable of delivering," explains Bjørn Laastad, project manager for the FU secretariat.

"Norsk Hydro has pointed out that high gas offtake could hit recovery from its Troll Oil project. So we'll be awaiting more production experience before deciding on further gas deliveries."

When the invitation to apply for the allocation round was issued in June, licences were also offered the opportunity to submit data based on the Troll Swing model.

The latter involves tailoring production from Troll Gas in the North Sea to daily customer uptake, allowing new gas projects to be designed for stable production.

"Our work this autumn will demonstrate how favourably the Troll Swing model compares in socio-economic terms with conventional development of individual fields," says Mr Laastad.

"Kvitebjørn in the North Sea is being evaluated on the basis of this model, as are Åsgard and Halten Bank South in the Norwegian Sea."

The Halten Bank South licence, operated by Saga Petroleum, is unable to commit gas deliveries at present and has therefore refrained from applying in the current round.

However, the FU expects that this licence will submit an application later and that it could utilise Statoil's Åsgard facilities to process its production.

Allocation of the increase in Norway's contractual gas deliveries to supply fields, and the order in which the necessary capacity should be developed, are now being evaluated by the FU.

The committee will submit a recommendation on 15 January to the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, which is expected to reach a decision before July.

Both gas sales contracts and the infrastructure to be utilised are being taken into account in the FU's assessments, reports Mr Laastad.

"This means, for instance, that we'll consider whether Kvitebjørn should be tied back to the Troll Gas facilities at Kollsnes near Bergen or Norsk Hydro's Heimdal field."