Equinor brings Askeladd online, adds more gas to Hammerfest LNG

Norwegian energy giant Equinor has put into operation Askeladd natural gas development in the Barents Sea two years after the project was originally completed.

Hammerfest LNG facility (Photo: Ole Jørgen Bratland / Equinor)

Askeladd is a satellite field of the Snøhvit field and was developed as a subsea tie-in to the Snøhvit facility and Hammerfest LNG.

Equinor announced the start-up of Askeladd Phase 1 on 12 December saying that the project will bring 18 billion cubic metres of gas and two million cubic metres of condensate to the market via the Hammerfest LNG plant on Melkøya.

Subsea templates for Askeladd and Johan Castberg at Polarbase, Hammerfest (Photo: Jan Arne Wold / Equinor)

During normal production, Hammerfest LNG delivers 18.4 million standard cubic metres of gas per day, or 6.5 billion cubic metres per year. This is estimated to correspond to the needs of around 6.5 million European households, or 5% of all Norwegian gas exports.

“Askeladd is now producing, the gas will help extend plateau production from Hammerfest LNG on Melkøya up to three years”, said Thor Johan Haave, Equinor’s VP of Operations & Maintenance, Hammerfest LNG.

The project was originally completed in 2020, but the start-up had to wait until the Melkøya plant resumed operations earlier this year after the fire incident that occurred in September 2020.

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Equinor noted that the development was delivered on schedule and NOK 650 million (around $65.15 million) below the cost estimate of NOK 5.2 billion (around $521.2 million).

“Just over 1.5 million person-hours of work have gone into the project, most of them performed by our suppliers. During the project period, Askeladd generated 250–300 person-years of work in Northern Norway, mainly in Hammerfest. In addition, many employees and suppliers have helped restart Hammerfest LNG, which makes it possible to phase in both Askeladd and future projects”, says Trond Bokn, Equinor’s Senior VP for Project Development.

Askeladd is the first of several projects in the further development of the Snøhvit field and the infrastructure around Hammerfest LNG.

Next up is Askeladd West with two new wells tied back to existing infrastructure, before further development continues with onshore compression and electrification through the Snøhvit Future project.