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Hectic at Kårstø

August 16, 2004, 11:30 CEST

Gas customers in continental Europe will not be affected by the shutdown at the Kårstø processing complex north of Stavanger which began early today, 16 August.

Due to end on 6 September, this three-week turnaround includes planned maintenance, modification work and a large number of tie-ins for the Kårstø expansion project (KEP2005).

These activities will be pursued night and day during the shutdown, reports Sigurd C Brensholm, who is in charge of the 2004 exercise.

From 1 October next year, Kårstø will be able to process gas from Statoil’s Kristin development in the Norwegian Sea.

Nearly 1,300 people are due to work almost 100,000 hours during the turnaround – corresponding to 60 years of full-time employment.

The landscape of the Kårstø plant is being extensively altered, with new columns, tanks, pipe racks and modules tied into the existing facilities.

A new electrically-driven sales gas compressor will be installed to push more gas to Germany through the Europipe II trunkline.

The turnaround has been planned for a long time. Safety and maintaining the schedule take priority, says Leidulf Ramstad, senior vice president for processing and transport in Natural Gas.

“Nobody must be in any doubt that the safety of the individual comes first,” he emphasises. “No job is so urgent that we don’t have time to do it in a safe manner.”

Bjørn R Jacobsen, chief of staff in Natural Gas, reports that the consequences of the shut-down for gas sales to European buyers have been known for a long time.

“It’s been a major exercise to change the profile of these sales and adapt them to relevant shutdowns so that customers are not affected,” he says.

State-owned Gassco is operator for the Gassled pipeline partnership and therefore also for Kårstø and KEP2005.

As technical service provider at the complex, Statoil is carrying out the expansion project on behalf of Gassco.