The Netherlands-based oil and gas major Shell has said that it anticipates gas exports from Norway's vast Ormen Lange field to the UK to start in October 2007, Reuters has reported, citing a Shell executive.

<p>Shell owns just over 17% of the field, which is expected to meet about a fifth of the UK&#0039;s gas needs, and will act as the reserve&#0039;s operator during its operation period. Norwegian firm Hydro has been operating the field during its development phase.<br /><br />According to Reuters, some observers are speculating that the field could start sending gas to Eastington, England earlier than October, but Shell has reportedly refuted the claims. Tom Botts, executive vice president of European exploration and production, confirmed: We expect to be on schedule to start exports in October, as cited by Reuters.<br /><br />Reuters quoted Mr Botts as saying that he did not expect UK gas prices to plunge when the field starts delivering gas to England, despite the fact that this happened when the southern stretch of the Langeled gas pipeline opened in autumn 2006. It is this pipeline that will transport Ormen Lange gas to the UK. <br /><br />The business prospect is sound, demand is such that it is coming on at the right time, Mr Botts told an oil and gas conference in Scotland, Reuters revealed.<br /><br />Located in southern Norway, Ormen Lange is connected to the UK through the Langeled pipeline. However, the field can redirect its output to continental Europe at the Sleipner platform in the North Sea.</p>