Statoil to snap up chunk of Greenland block

Scottish explorer Cairn Energy on Monday said it had agreed to sell about a third of its interest in the Pitu oil and gas block off Greenland to Norwegian major Statoil for an undisclosed amount.

"Under the terms of the agreement Statoil will, subject to the approval of the Greenland government, acquire a working interest of 30.625 percent in the Pitu licence," Cairn said in a statement.

"Cairn will retain operatorship (56.875-percent interest in the block) of the exploration and Statoil will operate any future development. Nunaoil has an ongoing 12.5 percent interest in the block."

Edinburgh-based Cairn, whose fortunes were transformed in recent years by successful exploration projects in India, has since turned its focus to offshore Greenland.

However, two drilling campaigns failed to locate commercial quantities of oil and gas in 2010 and 2011.

"Statoil's extensive Arctic operating and development experience makes them the partner of choice for the Pitu block where we see significant potential," Cairn chief executive Simon Thomson said on Monday.

Cairn last month finalised a deal to sell a controlling stake in its Indian unit to mining giant Vedanta, after protracted wrangling over royalty payments.

"The completion of the transaction with Vedanta crystallises the very significant value creation that we have delivered from the Indian business allowing us to return $4.5 billion to shareholders over the last five years," Thomson added in Monday's statement.

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Norway and UK complete world’s longest underwater sea cable

Norway and Britain have finished laying the world's longest subsea power cable, which will send wind and hydro energy between the two countries, Norwegian power grid operator Statnett announced Tuesday.

Norway and UK complete world's longest underwater sea cable
Offshore wind farm. Photo by Andrey Sharpilo on Unsplash

The 720-kilometre-long (447-mile-long) North Sea Link — all but four kilometres of it underwater — links Suldal in the southwest of the Scandinavian country to Blyth, near Newcastle.

The cable will deliver British wind energy to Norway, which will send hydropower to the UK in return, with testing set to start October 1.

The project is estimated to have cost between 1.5 billion and 2.0 billion euros ($1.8-$2.4 billion).

“When the wind blows in England and wind power production is high, we in Norway will be able to buy cheap electricity from the British and leave the water in our dam reservoirs,” said Statnett’s project manager Thor Anders Nummedal.

“When there is little wind and a greater need for electricity in England, they will in turn be able to buy hydroelectric power from us,” he said in a statement.

The power capacity of the new cable is 1,400 megawatts.

The coupling of the two sections, built simultaneously from the British and Norwegian sides, took place late Monday evening.

READ MORE: Norway sees oil in its future despite IEA’s warnings 

The construction had its share of technical challenges, including the need to build a special barge to run the cable under a Norwegian lake and the drilling of a 2.3-kilometre tunnel.

“This is an important cooperation between the UK and Norway to make the most of our joint renewable energy resources,” said Nigel Williams, project director at UK operator National Grid, which, like Statnett, owns 50 percent of the project.

The cable takes the crown of the longest underwater cable from Nordlink, which was inaugurated only last month and connects Norway and Germany, measuring 623 kilometres, with 516 kilometres of it underwater.

Already connected to France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Ireland, the UK is planning further direct connections with continental countries, including a 765-kilometre link with Denmark with a 621-kilometre stretch underwater.