Equinor takes FID on Askeladd project to secure more gas for Hammerfest LNG

Norway’s Equinor and its partners have taken a final investment decision on the Askeladd Vest project in the southern Barents Sea which will provide natural gas to the Hammerfest LNG export plant.

Equinor and its partners Petoro, Total, Neptune and Wintershall Dea will invest about 3.3 billion Norwegian crowns ($384 million) in the project, according to a statement on Friday.

The development of Askeladd is a part of the multi-phased Snøhvit development. The 4.5 LNG plant on Melkøya island already receives natural gas via a 160-kilometer pipeline from the Snøhvit field.

Askeladd would provide 134 million barrels of oil equivalent and extend plateau production at the Hammerfest LNG plant by a “good two years,” Equinor said.

The Norwegian energy giant previously said this includes about 21 billion cubic metres of gas and two million cubic metres of condensate.

Plans call for production start in the first half of 2024.

“By increasing the resource base for Hammerfest LNG, Askeladd Vest will be an important contribution in supporting our ambition of long-term presence in the north,” Kristin Westvik, Equinor’s senior vice president for operations north, said in the statement.

“This will allow us to further strengthen the ripple effects of our activities in this part of the country, which is important to Equinor and its partners in the time ahead,” Westvik said.

The subsea template on Askeladd Vest will be tied back to the Askeladd field through a pipeline and an umbilical.

In addition, the distance from the onshore production plant at Melkøya to the subsea field is 195 kilometres, which is the longest distance ever to a field development, according to Equinor.

Firms to complete most of the work in Norway

Equinor said that contractors would carry out a “substantial part” of the Askeladd Vest project activities in Norway.

Aker Solutions has won a contract for the subsea production facility under which it would provide a subsea template and two Christmas trees with associated components. The contract has a price tag of about 460 million Norwegian crowns ($55.1million).

Moreover, TechnipFMC was awarded a letter of intent for pipelaying and subsea installation services for the Askeladd Vest project in 2020.

Award of contract will contribute to sustain workplaces for TechnipFMC in Norway, including the Orkanger spool base, where the pipelines will be fabricated before they are reeled onto the installation vessel, Equinor said.

The German manufacturer Butting has already completed pipes for the project while Nexans has previously secured a letter of intent for fabrication of umbilicals for the project.

After contract award, Nexans will perform the main work of assembling umbilicals and loading them onto installation vessels at its plant in Halden.

Hammerfest LNG offline until October

To remind, Equinor closed the Hammerfest LNG plant on September 28, 2020 following a fire in turbine 4.

The export facility will remain shut until October 1 as Equinor works to repair the plant.

However, prior to this Equinor will need to work on several orders the firm has received from Norway’s Petroleum Safety Authority.

PSA said on Thursday it has identified regulation breaches following its investigation into the fire that broke out at the facility last year.

The safety watchdog said the investigation has found “serious breaches of the regulations.”

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