Photo: Askeladd template loadout from the Aker Solutions production hall in Egersund in 2019. (Photo: Ørjan Richardsen and Espen Rønnevik/Equinor)

Equinor and partners to invest $384 million in Barents Sea project

Norway’s Equinor and its partners Petoro, Total, Neptune, and Wintershall Dea have decided to develop the Askeladd Vest project, which is located in the southern Barents Sea.

The investment in the project is close to NOK 3.2 billion (about $384 million), Equinor said on Friday.

Geir Tungesvik, Equinor’s senior vice president for project development, said: “The Askeladd Vest development is a profitable development and will provide 134 million barrels of oil equivalent.”

Equinor noted that, as part of the multi-phased Snøhvit development, Askeladd Vest will extend plateau production at the Hammerfest LNG plant by a good two years. Plans call for the production to start in the first half of 2024.

Askeladd Vest is operated by the Snøhvit organisation located in Hammerfest and Harstad.

Without surface installations, the Snøhvit project involves bringing natural gas to land for liquefaction and export from the first plant of its kind in Europe and the world’s northernmost liquefied natural gas facility.

Kristin Westvik, Equinor’s senior vice president for operations north, said: “By increasing the resource base for Hammerfest LNG, Askeladd Vest will be an important contribution in supporting our ambition of long-term presence in the north.

“This will allow us to further strengthen the ripple effects of our activities in this part of the country, which is important to Equinor and its partners in the time ahead”.

The subsea template on Askeladd Vest will be tied back to the Askeladd field through a pipeline and an umbilical.

The distance from the onshore production plant at Melkøya to the subsea field is 195 kilometres, which is the longest distance ever to a field development, Equinor said.

Equinor – assignments for Norwegian suppliers

Equinor emphasised that a substantial part of the Askeladd Vest project activities will be carried out in Norway.

The contract for the subsea production facility has been awarded to Aker Solutions and comprises a subsea template and two Christmas trees with associated components.

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The contract value is estimated at around NOK 460 million ($55.2 million).

Fabrication will take place in Sandnessjøen and Egersund and project management and engineering will take place at Tranby.

Furthermore, in the summer of 2020, TechnipFMC was awarded a letter of intent for pipelaying and subsea installation services for the Askeladd Vest project.

The award of contract will contribute to keep workplaces for TechnipFMC in Norway, including the Orkanger spool base, where the pipelines will be fabricated before they are reeled onto the installation vessel.

Pipes for the project have been supplied by the German manufacturer Butting. These pipes have already been manufactured and are stored in Orkanger.

Nexans has been awarded a letter of intent for fabrication of umbilicals for the project. After contract award, the main activity of assembling umbilicals and loading them onto installation vessels will be performed at Nexans’ plant in Halden.

According to the contract, Nexans will fabricate fibre-optic cables and power cables at their plant in Rognan. The contract value is estimated at around NOK 100 million ($12 million) and will create around 10 man-years in Norway.

Askeladd Vest licence partners are Equinor 36.79% (operator), Petoro 30%, Total E&P Norge 18.40%, Neptune Energy Norge 12%, and Wintershall Dea Norge 2.81%.