Equinor brings Askeladd gas field on stream

Equinor has started production at its Askeladd field in the Barents Sea with the aim of bringing more than 18 billion cubic metres per annum of additional gas to the Hammerfest liquefied natural gas plant on Norway’s Melkoya Island.

The Norwegian major said Monday that it expects normal production at Askeladd, a subsea tie-back to the company’s Snohvit project, to be 18.4 Bcm gas and 2 million cubic metres per annum of condensate.

Thor Johan Have, Equinor’s vice president of operations and maintenance, Hammerfest LNG, said gas from Askeladd will help extend plateau production at Hammerfest LNG by up to three years.

The project was completed in 2020 but start-up was delayed by a fire at the Melkoya plant that same year.

Equinor said the price tag for Askeladd came in at Nkr4.55 billion ($450 million), Nkr650 million below the original Nkr5.2 billion estimated cost.

Askeladd’s first phase consists of three wells in two templates, with a pipeline and umbilical tying the wells back to the existing Snohvit facility. Water depths at Snohvit range from 310 metres to 340 metres.

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The company said Askeladd is “the first of several projects in the further development of the Snohvit field and the infrastructure around [Hammerfest LNG]”.

The next will be Askeladd West, which will be developed as a two-well tie-back to existing infrastructure “before further development continues with onshore compression and electrification through the Snohvit Future project,” Equinor said.

Equinor restarted production at Hammerfest LNG in June, 21 months after a fire in the filter housing of a gas turbine generator during start-up of the facility forced it to be shut down for investigation and repairs. No one was harmed in the fire.

The Snohvit field — the first to be developed in the Barents Sea — includes the Snohvit, Albatross and Askeladd structures.

Equinor operates the field with 36.79% interest, with partners Petoro on 30%, TotalEnergies on 18.4%, Neptune Energy on 12% and Wintershall Dea on 2.81%.

Load-out: Subsea templates for the Askeladd and Johan Castberg projects at Polarbase, Hammerfest Photo: JAN ARNE WOLD/EQUINOR