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Lloyds List: New gas pipeline planned to boost Troll link with Europe

Statoil and partners in talks with Gassco as part of proposal to increase output capacity via Kollsnes, writes Martyn Wingrove
STATOIL and state firm Gassco are planning to build another pipeline across the North Sea to transport more gas from the giant Troll field.
The Oslo-listed oil group is talking with project partners Norsk Hydro, Shell, Total, ConocoPhillips and Gassco about building a new pipeline to supply European markets with gas from other parts of the Troll field.
Statoil wants to raise daily production capacity at the Troll offshore platform and the onshore processing plant at Kollsnes, near Bergen, by 40m cu m.
It is planning to target the rest of the Troll East gas followed by the large volumes in the Troll West area, where two floating production platforms are recovering the oil resources.
Gas in Troll, Norway's largest field, is piped to Kollsnes where natural gas liquids and condensates are extracted, with the gas exported to Europe through the Zeepipe system.
The additional gas resources would be enough to justify building a new pipeline from Kollsnes either to continental Europe or to the UK, possibly via Norwegian offshore infrastructure at Sleipner or Draupner.
Statoil's chief executive Helge Lund thinks the reserves in the rest of the Troll field are similar to those under development at Norsk Hydro's Ormen Lange project in the Norwegian Sea.
That project is due on line in 2007 with exports via the Langeled pipeline to the UK via Sleipner.
'Statoil wants the remaining gas in Troll to be landed at Kollsnes with daily capacity at this facility and on Troll A raised by 40m cu m,' Mr Lund told delegates at the Norwegian Petroleum Society's oil policy seminar.
'That would open opportunities for laying a new export pipeline from Kollsnes to Europe or the UK.'
Last year Statoil increased production capacity at Troll from 85m cu m to around 110m by installing new modules on the platform.
Development of the gas resources in Troll West needs to be performed with delicacy as over-production would harm oil recovery and output levels.
Statoil intends to submit a plan for development and operation for this next phase of Troll's development in 2007 and could begin production by 2010.
For this project schedule, Statoil and Gassco will need to be laying the offshore pipelines in 2008 and 2009, so will need to secure pipelay and support vessels for these activities.
'The new pipeline could be used to help develop the smaller fields around Troll or to link with a pipeline from the northern seas,' Statoil manager Kristofer Hetland told Lloyd's List.
The state oil company is investigating a development of the fields in the Gjoa area north of Troll with a new floating production platform and will need pipeline capacity to markets.
Its rival Norsk Hydro has discovered new fields in that area also and is looking to develop them as satellites to the Troll field, via the Fram subsea facilities.
– Statoil has shut down production from the Visund platform in the North Sea after a gas leak in the flare pipe, where a large hole has appeared.
The Petroleum Safety Authority will investigate the leak, which forced Statoil to evacuate the platform on January 19.
Statoil thinks a large volume of gas flowed from a 50 cm diameter hole in the pipework leading to the flare stack.
The Oslo-based firm had to halt production immediately. Last week it returned production to the Asgard B, Krisin and Mikkel gas condensate fields in the Norwegian Sea after smoke was seen coming from the exhaust of a gas compressor.

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