Equinor and its partners have secured approval from the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) for the start-up of the production facility at the Aasta Hansteen gas field.


Image: The field is developed with a SPAR platform. Photo courtesy of Olaf Nagelhus)/Equinor.

The Norwegian gas field has been developed using a SPAR platform with a total investment of around NOK 37.5bn ($4.47bn). The platform is a floating installation with a vertical cylindrical hull that has been moored to the seabed.

Equinor, which is the operator of the Aasta Hansteen gas field, is targeting to begin production during the course of autumn 2018.

The offshore gas field is located near 320km west of Bodø and is contained in water depth of 1,270m.

The SPAR platform is claimed to be the largest of its kind in the world weighing 70,000 tonnes. It is also thought to be the first such offshore platform in the world to have a condensate storage tank.

According to Equinor, the installation of the SPAR platform comprises conventional topsides with processing facilities. The risers at the platform will transport the gas from the seabed to the Aasta Hansteen platform through the 480km Polarled gas pipeline to the Nyhamna terminal in Møre og Romsdal for further export to the UK.

It will have two subsea templates with each having four slots, and two subsea templates with one slot each that are placed on the seabed.

A total of eight production wells will be drilled at the Aasta Hansteen gas field which is expected to have 55.6 billion standard cubic metres (Sm3) gas and 0.6 million Sm3 condensate of recoverable reserves. The Aasta Hansteen gas project also includes the NOK1bn (119.23m) or so worth development of the Snefrid Nord discovery, made in 2015 in production license 218.

Equinor Norwegian Sea development and operations assistant director Kalmar Ildstad said: “Start-up of Aasta Hansteen opens the door for gas production from a completely new province in the northern Norwegian Sea. After the project was approved by the Storting in 2013, several other interesting discoveries have already been made in the area.

“A development of these resources will naturally make use of the Aasta Hansteen facility for gas processing and transport. The production from the Aasta Hansteen field and other discoveries in the area will therefore contribute to ensuring long-term gas export from the Norwegian Shelf in the years to come.”

Equinor, which holds a stake of 51% in the Aasta Hansteen gas field, is partnered by Wintershall (24%), OMV (15%) and ConocoPhillips (10%).