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First LNG shipment from Snøhvit

October 20, 2007, 20:15 CEST
Arctic Princess

Arctic Princess left Hammerfest on Saturday afternoon. (Photo: Allan Klo)

The purpose-built Arctic Princess has 145,000 cubic metres of LNG on board and is now on her way to customers in southern Europe.

"This is a historic milestone for the Snøhvit project and StatoilHydro's LNG focus," says chief executive Helge Lund.

"For the first time, we are supplying gas from the Norwegian continental shelf in a cooled state by ship. This gives us increased flexibility in marketing gas globally. Our plant at Melkøya is the first LNG production facility in Europe and will be a key component in StatoilHydro's focus on LNG, which constitutes the fastest growing gas market in the world."

Production of LNG from the Barents Sea's Snøhvit field began on 13 September. Even though the first shipment is on its way to market, the Hammerfest LNG plant is still in its initial phase. Stable production is expected in December.


Until then, LNG deliveries from Melkøya will vary from week to week since the initial phase will necessitate periodic shutdowns.

The LNG plant separates the wellstream comprising natural gas, condensate and water that arrives from subsea installations in the Barents Sea. The gas is cooled to minus 163 degrees centigrade where it becomes liquid (LNG) and is temporarily held in two large storage tanks.

At full production, tankers will leave port at Melkøya every five to six days. Each ship will transport nearly 150,000 cubic metres of LNG to customers worldwide.

Plans call for the official inauguration of the Snøhvit field and the Hammerfest LNG plant to be held in May 2008.

Snøhvit licensees: StatoilHydro, operator, (33.53%), Petoro (30.00%), Total E&P Norge (18.40%), Gaz de France (12.00%), Hess Norge (3.26%), RWE Dea (2.81%).

Facts about Snøhvit:
  • The Snøhvit field in the Barents Sea was discovered 24 years ago. On 21 August 2007, first gas flowed ashore
  • Snøhvit is the first ever field development in the Barents Sea
  • The Melkøya facility near Hammerfest is Europe's first LNG production plant
  • The field has been developed with subsea installations at depths of 250-345 metres
  • Gas, condensate and water are transported to the LNG plant at Melkøya through a 143-kilometre pipeline
  • Carbon dioxide is separated out at the LNG plant before it is reinjected for deposition under the seabed
  • The development of Snøhvit started five years ago and is the biggest industrial development ever in northern Norway
  • The heart of the LNG facility is a cooling plant based on technology StatoilHydro and main contractor Linde have developed together
  • Production from the field will come from three reservoirs - Snøhvit, Askeladd and Albatross