Equinor files $1.4bn plan for deepwater gas project
Norway's Equinor has submitted a plan to authorities for the development and operation of a deepwater gas project in the Norwegian Sea worth more than $1.4bn, the company announced on November 22.
Exploiting the 20bn-m3 Irpa gas discovery, formerly known as Asterix, will enable the delivery of more Norwegian gas to Europe, while extending the life of the already-producing Aasta Hansteen field until 2039, Equinor said. The field is due on stream in the fourth quarter of 2026, 17 years after its discovery.
"This is a good day – the development of Irpa will contribute to predictable and long-term deliveries of gas to customers in the EU and the UK," Equinor's executive vice president for projects, drilling and procurement, Geir Tungesvik, said in a statement.
At a cost of 14.8bn kroner, the project will involve the drilling of three wells, linked to the Aasta Hansteen platform via a 80-km pipeline. As "the only planned deepwater development in Norway," the project will gain the company greater technical experience.
Equinor operates Irpa with a 51% interest, while partners Petoro, Wintershall Dea and Shell have shares of 20%, 19% and 10% respectively.
Norwegian producers are scrambling to approve new projects to meet demand in Europe, where Norway has become the largest gas supplier following steep cuts in Russian flow. But these projects will only contribute limited extra gas for Europe in the near term to offset lost Russian supplies.
"Europe's need for energy security is enormous and it's hugely important these days that we can continue to develop the Norwegian continental shelf and continue to be a stable and long-term supplier of gas to the European market," Norwegian energy minister Terje Aasland commented in an interview with Bloomberg on November 22.