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ENERGY

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.

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ENERGY

Norwegian oil company doubles revenue as gas prices surge  

Norwegian energy giant Equinor said Wednesday that soaring gas prices helped it more than double its revenue in the third quarter. 

A file photo showing a North Sea oil rig. Norway's state-owned oil company Equinor netted a pre-tax operating result of 9.77 billion dollars for the third quarter of 2021.
A file photo showing a North Sea oil rig. Norway's state-owned oil company Equinor netted a pre-tax operating result of 9.77 billion dollars for the third quarter of 2021. Photo: ANDY BUCHANAN / AFP

Equinor, which is 67 percent owned by the Norwegian state, said that its net profit rose to $1.4 billion between July to September this year, compared to a loss during the same period in 2020, partly due to asset write-downs.

But the profit figure was well below analyst expectations of $2 billion.

However, total revenue hit $23 billion, narrowly beating expectations of $22 billion, according to analysts surveyed by Factset.

The number was also more than twice the revenue of the same period last year, when many businesses were devastated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Equinor’s preferred indicator — net operating profit, which excludes some one-off items, came in well above expectations at $9.8 billion.

Energy prices have surged recently as the global economy recovers from the pandemic, and the northern hemisphere heads towards winter.

Chief executive Anders Opedal said that “the global economy is in recovery, but we are still prepared for volatility related to the impact of the pandemic”.

“The current unprecedented level and volatility in European gas prices underlines the uncertainty in the market,” he said in the statement.

“Equinor has an important role as a reliable energy provider to Europe and we have taken steps to increase our gas exports to respond to the high demand.”

Equinor’s average price of oil per barrel reached $69.2 in the third quarter — up from $38.3 a year earlier.

Still largely oil-based, the company said in June it plans to invest $23 billion in renewable energy by 2026.

READ ALSO: Norway oil giant Equinor aims to be carbon neutral by 2050

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