Norwegian Government Gives Approval for Ormen Lange

Work will start just after Easter on the Ormen Lange site at Nyhamna, following the Storting's approval of the project development plans on Friday. " We are very pleased that the plans have been approved. We are now embarking on this industrial adventure on land and at sea," says Hydro senior vice president Bengt Lie Hansen.

The Storting's decision means that the Ormen Lange development partnership is able to maintain the schedule which slated construction start-up for April.

"After five years of detailed preparations, we have achieved all our milestones and are looking forward to starting work," says Lie Hansen, who chairs the partnership's steering committee.

Ormen Lange project director, Hydro's Tom Røtjer, calls the development a significant milestone in the Norwegian gas industry's history. Ormen Lange will be the second biggest gas field on the Norwegian Continental Shelf - only Troll is bigger. Røtjer is looking forward to working together with the local community during the gas plant development.

"The Storting's approval of the development plans marks the start of a new industrial adventure in Møre og Romsdal. We are embarking upon this assignment with deep respect for the local community. We intend to meet the challenges with determination and openness together with the local community. We are looking forward to a close and fruitful cooperation," he says.

Ripple effect on employment
The development - the biggest single project in Norway - will have a considerable effect on regional employment in Mid-Norway.

At most there will be up to 2,500 people involved in the development of the processing plant. This is twice the population of Gossen, in the municipality of Aukra.

The construction work will mean great changes for the local community around Nyhamna. During the preliminary site preparation phase the area will be cordoned off. Noise disturbance, from traffic and construction activity, will be considerable. But Røtjer pledges to take every precaution during the development:

" In planning the plant we have placed great emphasis on health, safety and environmental considerations. The intention is to carry out construction and operation in as careful a way as possible. Our actions will demonstrate that we take responsibility for people's safety and well-being, as well as for the environment," he says.