UPDATE 1-Norway to lose tenth of its gas output in Troll outage

Fri Jan 25, 2013 9:57am EST

Related Topics

* Troll A outage to last until April

* Gas production reduced by 35 mcm/day

* Needs to replace compressor driving unit

OSLO, Jan 25 (Reuters) - Norway is set to lose more than 10 percent of its gas production for the rest of the winter as repairing a faulty compressor at its biggest gas field could take months, gas system operator Gassco said on Friday.

The outage at Statoil's Troll A field will last until April 1, beyond an earlier February 4 deadline, and output until then will be reduced by a maximum of 35 million cubic metres (mcm) per day, Gassco said on its website.

The outage, which started on Sunday, was extended due to uncertainty regarding replacement of the "compressor driving unit," it added.

The outage notification lifted UK gas prices, and within-day gas prices rose 1.15 pence to 66.75 pence per therm following Gasso's announcement.

But traders said the market had over-reacted as supply margins in Britain were healthy despite the ongoing Troll outage.

"In February and March demand is lower, much lower across Europe," one gas trader said, referring to the fact less gas was needed from Norway over the extended outage time anyway.

So far, the drop in flows to Europe has been less than 35 mcm since the outage started on Jan. 21.

"Exports to Europe were between 320 and 330 mcm per day before that, and this week flows were down to 300-310 mcm," a Point Carbon analyst said.

Still, the lasting outage will have an impact on the company revenues and the country's gas output, which reached a record 107.6 billion cubic metres in 2012.

"This will result in a loss of revenue for Statoil and Petoro, which own the majority at Troll," Bjorn Brochmann, the head of gas analysis at Thomson Reuters Point Carbon said.

"It will also have a negative impact on Norway's total gas production as the outage is taking place when the demand is the highest," he added.

Statoil, which operates the field and holds 30.58 percent stake, was not immediately available for comment.

Norway meets about 20 percent of Europe's gas needs, and is the second-largest supplier after Russia's Gazprom.

Troll accounts for about 40 percent of Norway's gas output.

State-owned holding firm Petoro owns a 56 percent stake in the production license, and other partners include Shell with 8.1 percent, Total with 3.69 percent and ConocoPhillips with 1.62 percent.

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