Record injection gas sales
A record share of Norwegian gas sales in the 1999-2000 gas year will be used to improve recovery from Norwegian offshore fields.
Eighty per cent of the 15 billion cubic metres sold by Norway's Gas Negotiating Committee (GFU) during this period, which expired on 30 September, was earmarked for injection.
Norsk Hydro's Grane development in the North Sea will be the primary recipient of these deliveries.
"Injection represents an interesting additional sales channel for Norwegian gas," confirms Statoil's Rune Bjørnson, who chairs the GFU.
He emphasises that these sales are made on commercial terms which match prices and conditions obtained in continental Europe.
Most of the remaining 20 per cent of sales in 1999-2000 were short-term deliveries to new and existing European customers. Little was sold under long-term contracts.
"This probably reflects a desire by buyers to gauge the effect of the European Union's gas directive before binding themselves to long deals," says Bjørnson.
He is optimistic over prospects for additional sales in the present gas year, which began on 1 October.
"We see exciting opportunities in the European electricity sector, while eastern Europe remains a very interesting market.
"In the longer term, the biggest demand for new Norwegian gas volumes will probably come from the UK as its own production declines."