New Supply Route for Norwegian Gas to UK Officially Opened
The world's longest subsea pipeline, Langeled, was officially opened on October 16th by UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, who both stressed the importance of technology and cooperation in securing energy supplies. Langeled will provide the UK with 20 percent of the nation's gas supplies for decades to come.
The Langeled pipeline and receiving facilities in Easington, UK, are part of the Ormen Lange project, the largest gas field under development on the Norwegian Continental Shelf and currently one of the largest ongoing engineering projects in the world. The Ormen Lange project, which is developed and managed by the Norwegian energy and aluminum supplier Hydro, is almost 90 percent complete and moving ahead on schedule and on budget.
Children from Easington and the Norwegian community Aukra, home of the Ormen Lange project, took part in the opening of Langeled together with the two prime ministers and Hydro's President and Chief Executive Officer, Eivind Reiten.
"The demand for energy will continue to grow. Energy is the motor and measure of progress. If we are not able to develop new resources, or make more of the resources we have discovered, the result will be higher prices and shortage of supply. The technological breakthroughs we have achieved through the Ormen Lange project bring promise for the future. We have made the impossible possible," Reiten said just prior to serving the prime ministers a cup of hot tea – symbolizing the use of Norwegian gas – at the opening ceremony hosted by the Norwegian Embassy and Hydro in Lancaster House in central London.
When production from the Ormen Lange field begins during the autumn of 2007, about 70 million cubic meters of gas per day, a volume comparable with 20 percent of UK demand for gas, will flow through the Langeled pipeline.
Some of the world's largest pipe-laying vessels have been involved in the laying of the 100,000 pipes from the onshore processing plant at Nyhamna in Norway to Easington on the east coast of the UK.
During his speech, Reiten praised the partnership with the Norwegian oil company Statoil, which has been in charge of the Langeled sub-project, as well as other suppliers that have contributed to Langeled being completed on time and below budget.
Before the Ormen Lange gas can come on stream in fall next year, the main activity will be completion of the Nyhamna gas processing plant, drilling and completion of the first production wells, testing of the subsea installations and installing the last umbilical between Nyhamna and the Ormen Lange field, and midline tie-in on the Langeled pipeline.
With gas reserves close to 400 billion cubic meters and development costs of about NOK 66 billion (US $10 billion), the Ormen Lange field ranks as the largest development in the European offshore arena.
The first two remotely controlled subsea production stations are located 120 km from shore at a water depth of 850 meters – making Ormen Lange one of the world's largest and most advanced subsea-to-shore developments.
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