Statoil Says Kvitebjorn will Operate Cleaner

The Kvitebjorn gas field in the Norwegian North Sea will produce without harmful discharges to the sea and with record-low emissions of carbon dioxide. "This reservoir features very high temperature and pressure," observes Kvitebjorn project director Bjarne Bakken. "By exploiting these forces, we can cut energy consumption on the field and thereby substantially reduce emissions to the air and discharges to the sea." Gas production can be piped to land with the aid of reservoir energy because its pressure will be reduced as little as possible during the separation process prior to export.

Similarly, the wellstream temperature will be tapped to process condensate (light oil) and eliminate the need for a separate heat medium in the platform's processing facilities. These measures will keep emissions of nitrogen oxides as low as 0.02 kilograms per cubic meter of gas/oil produced and carbon dioxide released at 16 kilograms per unit produced. That compares with average Norwegian offshore emission ceilings of 0.12 kilograms for nitrogen oxides and 52 kilograms for carbon dioxide set in the official Miljosok environmental study. Produced water and drill cuttings are to be pumped back below ground with the aid of reservoir pressure, eliminating harmful discharges to the sea and reducing emissions to the air. The quality of materials on the Kvitebjorn platform is uniformly high. That enhances safety and cuts maintenance, while the reduced need for corrosion inhibitors also provides an environmental gain.

"Environmental measures adopted on this field are in line with Statoil's objective of producing oil and gas without harmful emissions or discharges," says Mr Bakken. Plans call for Kvitebjorn to come on stream in the autumn of 2004.