UK and Norway sign gas transport agreement

British and Norwegian authorities have reached agreement on a new treaty which provides the framework for laying new pipelines from the Norwegian continental shelf to the UK.

The deal represents a substantial step towards addressing and overcoming Britain’s predicated reliance on imported gas in the latter half of the decade.

UK Energy Minister, Stephen Timms met with his Norwegian counterpart, Einar Steensnaes in Oslo yesterday to co-sign an agreement on principles that will be incorporated in a new Framework Treaty for future cross-border oil and gas co-operation between the two countries.

The agreement is said to provide a firm basis for new investments by industry, most notably the proposed ‘Britpipe’ project from the Ormen Lange field. The Britpipe will supply an estimated 20 bcm/pa (billion cubic metres per annum) from the winter of 2006/7, representing 20 per cent of the UK’s current annual demand.

The Ormen Lange gas field licensees in the Norwegian Sea and ConocoPhillips plan to invest almost NOK 20 billion in the 1,200-kilometre ‘Britpipe’ trunkline.

This project includes a tie-in to Statoil’s Sleipner fields in the North Sea as well as land-based facilities in north-eastern England.

A plan for installation and operation of Britpipe is due in November, and the facility could be ready in the autumn of 2006. Ormen Lange is scheduled to start producing a year later.