StatoilHydro Hands Over Ormen Lange Operatorship to Shell

With the completion and start up of the Ormen Lange field comes a passing of the torch. In December 1999, the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy decided that operatorship of the field would be held by both Norske Shell and Hydro.

StatoilHydro served as operator during the development of the field, and Shell will serve as operator during the production. On November 30, the task will be formally handed off, with Shell starting up as operator on December 1, 2007.

"Production has good regularity and everything is working satisfactorily," said StatoilHydro's Executive Vice President for Projects Morten Ruud about the field. "We can now confidently hand over operatorship of Ormen Lange to Norske Shell."

"The partnership has worked well in operational phase preparations between the developer and the operations organization," added Ivar Helge Hollen, Norske Shell's head of operations for Ormen Lange. "There have been challenges, but we have solved them through a common effort. It's a very impressive facility Shell is taking over on December 1."

Developing the Ormen Lange field has been a formidable challenge because of the harsh environment in the Norwegian Sea. The field was developed wholly by subsea structures; there are no visible structures above the water at this field. The sea-floor installations range in depths from 800 to 1,100 meters. Development included an onshore plant at Nyhamna in the Aukra municipality in Norway, as well as the Langeled pipeline and a riser platform at Sleipner field to transport gas.

Studies show that the Ormen Lange field holds an estimated 397 billion standard cubic meters of recoverable gas reserves. For up to 40 years, the field will be able to produce 20% of Britain's gas needs. In fact, at its peak, the Ormen Lange field should produce 70 million standard cubic meters of gas a day.

Partners on Ormen Lange are A/S Norske Shell as operator (starting December 1, 2007) with 17.04% interest, Petoro AS with 36.48% interest, StatoilHydro with 28.91% interest, Dong E&P Norge AS with 10.34% interest and ExxonMobil Exploration & Production Norway AS with the remaining 7.23% interest.