Statoil halts Barents Sea expansion plans

Statoil halts Barents Sea expansion plans
Statoil's Melkøya plant on the Barents Sea coast (Photo: Øyvind Hagen/Statoil)
Norwegian oil company Statoil said on Tuesday it and its partners Total and GDF Suez have decided to drop plans to expand the Snøhvit natural gas field in the Barents Sea as unjustified given current discoveries.

The partners "concluded that the current gas discoveries do not provide a sufficient basis for further capacity expansion," said a Statoil statement.

"With new gas discoveries increased capacity may again be considered," it added.

The three companies have been exploring for the past 18 months whether to build a pipeline or another plant to liquefy the natural gas.

Statoil said no decision was reached on which option would be preferable.

The companies will focus on making better use of the current system of taking gas via an undersea pipeline to an onshore LNG plant, it added.

Statoil holds 36.79 percent in the field and is the operator. French companies Total and GDF Suez hold 18.4 percent and 12 percent stakes.

Petoro, the state-owned company which manages Norway's interest in energy exploration and production projects, holds a 30 percent stake, and Germany's RWE Dea 2.81 percent.

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