New measures to maintain high gas exports to Europe
Equinor and its partners, together with Norwegian authorities, take new steps to meet the gas demand in Europe. Increased production permits allow the high gas production from the Troll, Oseberg and Heidrun fields to be maintained through the summer months.
“Our focus is to maintain safe and efficient operations on our facilities, remaining a reliable supplier of energy to the markets in Europe in a highly challenging situation. In close dialogue with the authorities and our partners we are now taking steps to maintain the high production level from the winter,” says Kjetil Hove, executive vice president, Exploration & Production Norway.
The adjusted production permits from the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy allow the Oseberg field to increase its gas exports by around one billion cubic metres in the period up to 30 September. For the Heidrun field gas exports can increase by 0.4 billion cubic meters for the calendar year 2022.
1.4 billion cubic metres of gas meet the gas demand of around 1.4 million European homes during a year.
Equinor has also decided to postpone turnarounds on the Oseberg field from May to September this year in order to accelerate production. This is based on a thorough evaluation of the plants’ technical integrity.
Should needs for necessary maintenance still arise, this will be done during short turnarounds. Safety is the number one priority. The postponement results in a corresponding postponement of the Sture terminal turnaround.
In addition to increased exports, the adjustment of the permits also increases the robustness of the production on the fields exporting via the Kollsnes processing plant, as the Troll production can be increased by up to 1 billion cubic metres of gas in the event of loss of production on other fields in the area.
"In this highly challenging situation we do our utmost to deliver as much as possible to our customers, enabling them provide homes and companies with gas. We are pleased that we, together with the authorities, our partners and Gassco, now ensure that we can export more gas this summer, while increasing the robustness of gas exports,” says Irene Rummelhoff, executive vice president, Marketing, Midstream & Processing.
- Planned turnarounds on four platforms on the Oseberg field in May will be postponed to September 2022. This will accelerate the production of slightly less than 500 million cubic metres from September to May.
- The Ministry of Petroleum and Energy has approved the application from Equinor for a more flexible production permit for the Oseberg field for the current gas year, enabling the field to maintain maximum production. Oseberg can thus increase gas exports up to 30 September 2022 by about 1 billion cubic metres. This is an about 15–20 percent increase for the current gas year, putting this year’s production at about 7 billion cubic metres.
- The Ministry of Petroleum and Energy has approved the application from Equinor for an increase in the production permit to 38 billion cubic metres of gas for the Troll field for the current gas year. This increases production by 1 billion cubic metres, equivalent to an increase of slightly less than 3 percent for the Troll field in this gas year, in the event of loss of production from other fields.
- The Ministry of Petroleum and Energy has approved the application from Equinor to increase the gas production on the Heidrun field by 0.4 billion cubic metres in the current calendar year, i.e., an increase of up to approx. 30 percent.
Hammerfest LNG is also scheduled to come on stream from mid-May, providing more than 6 billion cubic metres of gas per year from the Barents Sea.
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gas year and production permits
- A gas year runs from 1 October to 30 September.
- Norwegian fields deliver gas to Europe through an extensive gas transportation system.
- In 2021 Norway exported 113.2 billion cubic metres of gas to Europe through the Gassco-operated systems.
- The fields on the NCS exporting through the pipeline network meet almost 25 percent of the gas demand in the EU and the UK. In addition, Hammerfest LNG/Snøhvit deliver gas to the market by tankers. Increased LNG import will be important for Europe in the time ahead.
- Gas production permits are issued by the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, emphasising social economics, long-term effects, and resource exploitation.
- A production permit can be granted both for a gas year, or for several years (long-term permits).
- Oseberg has a long-term permit. Flexibility has been granted, which means that the extra gas produced by Oseberg in this gas year will be deducted from the permit in the two following gas years.