December 26, 2011 / 11:05 AM / 8 years ago

Storm hits Norway gas plants, gas exports reduced

* Gas plant for Shell’s giant offshore field shut due storm

* Kollsnes processing plant restarting after closing twice

* Output at Statoil oil/gas offshore platforms not affected

By Gwladys Fouche

OSLO, Dec 26 (Reuters) - A powerful North Sea storm knocked off power at two key gas installations in Norway in the night between Sunday and Monday, curtailing gas exports to the rest of Europe.

The plant processing gas from Royal Dutch Shell ‘s giant offshore Ormen Lange field, which can provide some 20 percent of Britain’s gas demand, was shut on Monday while the Kollsnes plant further down the coast appeared to be restarting operations after sustaining two shutdowns overnight.

Both plants get all their power from the Norwegian national grid, which experienced widespread power cuts due to a powerful storm, nicknamed Dagmar, that travelled across the North Sea and caused some 100,000 Norwegians to experience power cuts during the night.

British gas imports from Norway via the Langeled pipeline dived to 6 million standard cubic metres (mcm) of gas per day at 1034 GMT on Monday from some 60 million mcm/day at around 2200 GMT on Sunday, according to data from the British national grid.

Oil and gas output at Statoil’s offshore installations was not affected by the storm. The Norwegian firm operates the majority of Norway’s oil and gas platforms and production ships.

“Production is as normal,” said a Statoil spokesman, who added that the firm had taken precautionary measures ahead of time such as asking employees not to work outside.

Staffing was reduced at two fields, Visund and Aasgard, as a precaution but output there was not affected, he said.

The Nordic country is the world’s eighth-largest oil exporter and the second largest for gas.

Dagmar is expected to wane over southern Norway on Monday as it travels further north towards the Arctic part of the country, according to the Norwegian Meteorological Institute.


“Due to the severe weather, the plant for Ormen Lange is down,” said a Shell spokesman.

The shutdown at Shell’s Nyhamna plant occurred at 1940 GMT on Sunday according to a message Shell sent to the Nordic power bourse.. It is unclear when the plant will resume operations.

Further south on the coast, the Kollsnes plant appeared to be restarting operations after sustaining two shutdowns overnight.

Kollsnes, which can process up to 143 million standard cubic metres of gas per day, shut first at 1730 GMT on Christmas Day and came back up to normal at around 0414 GMT on Monday, according to messages North Sea infrastructure operator Gassco sent to the Nordic power bourse.

Kollsnes then shut again at 0710 GMT on Monday, but appeared to be ramping its consumption of power from the grid, indicating that the plant may be getting back to normal.

At 0920 GMT it was consuming 160 megawatts of power out of a total installed capacity of 270 MW.

Gassco was not available for comment.

Kollsnes produces gas from the giant Troll gas field, Norway’s biggest gas reservoir, as well as the Kvitebjoern and Visund fields.

The partners in the Ormen Lange field are Shell (17.04 percent), ExxonMobil (7.23 percent), Statoil (28.92 percent), Denmark’s DONG (10.34 percent) and Norwegian state-owned firm Petoro (36.48 percent).

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