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On Norwegian Arctic coast, new record for LNG

A record number of tankers in 2014 picked up LNG at the Melkøya terminal.

The Melkøya LNG plant in 2014 had its best year ever.

Figures assembled by Patchwork Barents show that the Snøhvit field in the Norwegian Barents Sea in 2014 produced a total of 5,2 billion cubic meters of gas, the biggest volume since production start in 2007. The previous record was set in 2010, when production amounted to 4,99 billion cubic meters, the data portal says.

The Snøhvit gas is turned into LNG at the Melkøya plant in Hammerfest, northern Norway.

The Statoil-operated Melkøya plant is the only facility for LNG production in the Arctic. It is based on the resources of the Snøhvit field, a deposit located offshore about 140 km north of the town of Hammerfest. The new production record comes as Statoil has found ways to overcome a host of technical problems connected with plant operations.

The Melkøya liquified natural gas is transported by special carriers to buyers in a string of countries, most of it however to Spain. Figures from the Vardø Vessel Traffic Service, a monitoring station operated by the Norwegian Coastal Administration, show that a total of 92 tankers in 2014 picked up LNG at Melkøya, the highest number on record.

The Heidrun fields has for a number of years been the biggest source of gas production in the Norwegian Sea.

In addition to the Snøhvit field and the the Melkøya LNG plant, Norway has several more gas-producing installations in northern waters. In the Norwegian Sea, off the coast of Nordland county, a handful of fields, among them the Heidrun and Morvin, are in production and delivering pipeline gas to the markets. Figures from Patchwork Barents show a stable production in the area, with annual output ranging between 2-2,5 billion cubic meters.

Regional gas production will be increased as the nearby Aasta Hansteen field will start the pumps in 2017.

In the Russian part of the Barents Region, gas production has been stable around 3,3 billion cubic meters over several years. It is primarily the Komi Republic which accounts for gas production in the region.