Norwegian oil and gas player Statoil has revealed that the process facility at its Hammerfest liquid natural gas plant in northern Norway has received its first gas from the Snohvit field. Statoil added that after just over five years of construction work, the plant at Melkoya will soon be ready to produce liquid natural gas.

This is an important day after many years’ work and preparation, said Geir Pettersen, Statoil’s senior vice president for the Tromso Patch business cluster, which includes Snohvit operations. We now have some hectic weeks ahead of us adjusting the process plant to produce liquid natural gas (LNG).

Statoil said that as it separates the wellstream from the Snohvit gas field and reforms it into LNG, the Hammerfest plant is Europe’s first export facility of its kind. This is the first time that gas from the field has actually reached the process facility, the company said.

Statoil is operator for the development and operation of Snohvit with a 33.53% interest. The other licensees are Petoro (30%), Total E&P Norge (18.4%), Gaz de France (12%), Amerada Hess Norge (3.26%) and RWE Dea Norge (2.81%).

According to Thompson Financial, the Snohvit gas field is thought to contain approximately 193 billion cubic meters of gas, and commercial production from the site is due to begin later in 2007.