On 21 August the Polarled gas pipeline crossed 66 degrees and 33 minutes north of the equator becoming the first pipeline to take the Norwegian gas infrastructure across the Arctic Circle.
This will open a new gas highway from the Norwegian Sea to Europe, Statoil writes in a press release.
The 482-kilometre long and 36-inch wide pipeline will run from Nyhamna in western Norway to the Aasta Hansteen field in the Norwegian Sea. The world’s largest pipelaying vessel, Solitaire from Allseas, is carrying out the job and is advancing slowly, exactly 24.4 metres at a time, every sixth minute or so, around the clock.
During September the vessel will arrive at the Aasta Hansteen field, if weather permits. Even early in the autumn high waves and strong wind leading to interruptions must be expected. The weather has been good for a long period now:
«We are progressing well at the moment, conditions have been good for more than 50 days in a row, and at the end of July we set a record of laying 4.8 kilometres of pipes in one day,” says Kenneth Aksel Kristensen, one of Statoil’s company representatives on board the vessel.
Polarled will also be the deepest pipeline on the Norwegian continental shelf – by the Aasta Hansteen field the water depth is 1260 metres. Furthermore, it will be the first time a 36-inch wide pipe is laid in such deep waters anywhere in the world.
At start-up the gas from Aasta Hansteen will be the only gas passing through Polarled, but the pipeline has a diameter of 36 inches and capacity for more gas:
“We have therefore installed six connection points, call it future slip roads to the new gas highway,” says Håkon Ivarjord, Statoil’s project venture manager for the Polarled development project. “Polarled will open up for gas export to Europe from a completely new gas province, and with the infrastructure in place it will also be more attractive to explore the surrounding area.”
This autumn the new highway for gas from the Norwegian Sea will be ready for use – on time and well below budget, Statoil writes.