Norway considers pipeline for Barents gas to Europe

Gas flare at the LNG plant near Hammerfest on the Barents Sea coast.

Significant discoveries of Arctic gas between Finnmark and Svalbard can trigger Norway to extend its current pipeline system in the North Sea all the way to the Barents Sea.


Gas flare at the LNG plant near Hammerfest on the Barents Sea coast.
Gas flare from the LNG-plant near Hammerfest. The plant process the gas from Snøhvit, Norway’s only operational gas field in the Barents Sea. Photo: Thomas Nilsen

Norway’s Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre says the new discoveries of gas in the Barents Sea can be taken to the markets by extending the existing pipeline system. Støre presented the gas pipeline plans at a trade union conference on northern strategies in Bodø.

At present, Snøhvit is the only operational gas field in the Barents Sea. The gas is pumped from underwater installations via a pipeline to a LNG processing plant onshore near Hammerfest in Finnmark. Huge LNG tankers then bring the liquid gas to the markets in Europe and USA.

A new pipeline all the way north from the exciting North Sea pipeline system will be some 1,000 kilometers. 

- The development of the Barents Sea as a new European gas region opens large perspectives for economic and industrial development in the north, Støre said in his speech posted on the Ministry’s portal.

State own Gassco is currently working on a study on how the Norwegian shelf gas pipeline system can be extended to the north in the Norwegian Sea area. New pipelines will be offshore all the way.

Foreign Minister Støre however underlined that more gas discoveries need to discovered before a gas pipeline from the Norwegian part of the Barents Sea will be profitable to build.

Read alsoGas discovery in the Barents Sea turns out promising

LNG tanker outside Hammerfest in northern Norway.
Huge LNG-tanker outside Hammerfest on the Norwegian Barents Sea coast is the only way to get the Arctic gas to the markets today.  Photo: Thomas Nilsen

Russia is also planning to construct a new pipeline from Teriberka on the Kola Peninsula’s Barents Sea coast line down to Vyborg on the Baltic Sea coastline from where the North Stream pipeline brings Russian gas to Germany. The plans are to send gas from the Shtokman field to Europe via the new pipeline. A decision to develop the huge Shtokman field is still waiting. 

A joint Norwegian, Russian pipeline system is another idea in the wake of the positive cooperation following the newly established maritime border between Norway and Russia in the Barents Sea.  Russian gas could then be sent from future offshore fields in the eastern Barents Sea via the north coast of Norway and by that get direct access to the existing distribution system from the North Sea to the markets in Europe.