The plan for development and operation (PDO) of the gas field Ormen Lange was submitted to the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy on 4 December last year, together with the plan for installation and operation (PIO) for the pipeline Langeled.
The proposition on the development was processed in the Council of State on Friday. The government's approval of the project is an important step ahead, and the proposition can now be presented to the Storting.
"I am very pleased that the proposition both for the Ormen Lange development and the pipeline Langeled can now be presented to the Storting. This is an important milestone for us," says senior vice president Bengt Lie Hansen in Hydro.
"We hope the project will be processed in the Storting during the course of March, so that we can start work on the onshore processing plant at Aukra in April. We have to keep to the schedule if we are to come onstream in October 2007," says Lie Hansen.
Once the final go-ahead signal for the development is given, construction work will start on the Ormen Lange gas process plant at Nyhamna in Aukra municipality. This will be one of the largest onshore construction projects in Norway's history and will employ up to 1700 people during the construction phase.
"This is a historic day for Aukra and the whole district," said Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik in a comment to the local newspaper Romsdals Budstikke. He does not expect disagreement with the development, and says he has received no signals suggesting anything other than majority support for the project in the Storting.
After more than two years of studies and assessments of fourteen possible landing sites, Nyhamna, in the county of Møre og Romsdal, was selected as the landing point for the wellstream from Ormen Lange. Nyhamna stood out clearly as the best site with regard to both financial and health, safety and environmental aspects.
The gas will be transported from Nyhamna through the longest subsea pipeline in the world, 1200 kilometres to Easington on the east coast of England.
Ormen Lange is one of the largest gas fields to be developed on the Norwegian continental shelf. The field is 100 kilometers off the coast of Møre og Romsdal at a sea depth of between 800 and 1,100 meters, and will double Hydro's export of gas when it comes onstream in October 2007.
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