Snohvit Sees More Delays

The expansion of the Snohvit field in the Barents Sea will not be cleared before the end of May. Statoil continues work on plans but a European commission must rule first.

EFTA (European Free Trade Association) watchdog ESA (EFTA Surveillance Authority) is considering an appeal from Norwegian environmental group Bellona. After this process Norwegian authorities must weigh their reaction and this procedure will not be complete until the end of May according to a letter Finance Minister Per-Kristian Foss has sent to Statoil.

Foss insists that the tax regulations for the offshore project do not constitute government subsidization, which Bellona is claiming and which would violate EFTA agreements. "We are still set on our goal of starting gas production by the turn of year 2005-2006," said information officer Sverre Kojedal of Statoil in a statement.