While oil production from the Norwegian continental shelf is on the wane, Torvund emphasized that Norway has major gas reserves that have not yet been produced.
Norway is currently the world's third largest exporter of gas, after Russia and Canada, and the country exported over 85 billion cubic meters of gas to Europe in 2006. In 2010, Norway's gas exports will increase to over 120 billion cubic meters annually, a quantity that will be able to meet around 20 percent of Europe's gas requirements.
"The abrupt increase in gas exports will – to a great extent – be due to production from the Ormen Lange gas field, which is expected to reach plateau production in 2010. Production commences in October this year, and we are well on course, both with regard to schedules and budgets," Torvund commented.
Hydro is operator for the development phase of Ormen Lange, a gas field located around 120 kilometers off the coast of More in western Norway. From sea depths of between 800 and 1100 meters, the gas is to be transported in to Nyhamna in Aukra municipality. There, the gas will be processed, before being sent 1200 kilometers through the world's longest subsea pipeline to Easington in England.
The UK will become an ever more important importer of Norwegian gas in the years ahead. Currently, Hydro sells the majority of its gas to the European continent, but once production from Ormen Lange commences, the British market will receive a greater proportion of Norwegian gas.
With 120 billion cubic meters of gas, Norway will be able to meet around 20 percent of Europe's gas requirements in 2010.
Hydro's gas production has doubled since 2001, and the company currently exports over 10 billion cubic meters of gas annually. In 2010, production from fields on the Norwegian continental shelf where Hydro holds ownership shares will increase to around 15 billion cubic meters.
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