September 2020, Vol. 247, No. 9


Norway’s Gas Field Fairy Tale

Special to P&GJ

Norway has given its big gas field in the Barents Sea a fairy tale name: Snøhvit (Snow White). Now the fairy tale continues with the next phase of development called Askeladd. 

Askeladd is a hero in Norwegian fairy tales. He is a poor man who fights against trolls and kings and always emerges victorious in the end. He gains a “treasure” that brings good luck – his princess. 

In the literature, “Askeladd,” therefore, is often associated with the German “Cinderella.” Also, in the real world, Norway has found a special treasure in the discovery of the Snøhvit field, and the phased development of the natural gas reserves is known as the very first offshore development in the Barents Sea.

The entire gas field contains about 6.8 Tcf (193 Bcm) of extractable natural gas and 113 billion barrels of condensate. It lies about 87 miles (140 km) northwest of the town of Hammerfest, on the Norwegian continental shelf in the Barents Sea, the sea around the edge of the Arctic Ocean. About one quarter of the world’s unknown oil and gas reserves are assumed to lie in the Arctic Ocean. 

The region is ecologically highly sensitive, and a series of environmental requirements have to be met. In the meantime, all environmental protection requirements have been adapted to allow the fishing and oil industries to coexist.

Longest Multiphase 

After the development of Snøhvit began in 2005, Phase 2 of the project followed in 2018. Located at a water depth of about 820 feet (250 meters), Askeladd is 25 miles (40 km) southwest of Snøhvit. About 635 Bcf (18 Bcm) of gas and 70.6 MMcf (2 MMcm) of condensate are to be supplied from there via the Snøhvit main field to the liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant 50 miles (80 km) away in Hammerfest. For this purpose, Butting GmbH und Co. KG delivered almost 27 miles (43 km) of mechanically lined BuBi pipes in 2019. 

These are part of an 89-mile (143-km), 26.6-inch (68-cm) thick multiphase submarine pipeline – measured across all fields – that transports natural gas liquids to the island of Melkøya, just off Hammerfest, for further processing. What is special is the conveyor system has no platforms visible on the surface of the sea, but is controlled completely remotely from the LNG platform, which is an innovation in Norway and throughout Europe.

After the production of the BuBi pipes in Knesebeck, the headquarter of Butting, started toward the end of 2018, the first pipes were prepared for shipping only four weeks later. A total of 3,518 BuBi pipes in single lengths of 39.4 feet (12 meters) were produced by May 2019, loaded onto 235 railway wagons and transported to the port of Bremen, Germany. 

From there they were shipped to Orkanger, Norway, and then loaded onto lorries for further overland transport. For the transport on board ship, special “safety nets” in accordance with EN-1263-1, Class A2 were installed between the pipe stacks in the fourth and ninth positions at the customer’s request and for work safety reasons.

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