Solitaire has started laying the Polarled gas pipeline. (Photo: Svein Roger Ivarsen/Shell)
On 26 March, the Solitaire pipe-laying vessel started on the first stage of the Polarled installation project. The 482-kilometre long pipeline will transport gas from the Aasta Hansteen field in the Norwegian Sea to Nyhamna in western Norway.
Statoil is operator during the development of the Polarled project and therefore responsible for laying the pipeline between Aasta Hansteen and Nyhamna. As operator for the gas plant, Shell is responsible for preparing the Nyhamna processing plant for gas reception.
“I am pleased to note that the pipeline is now connected to the Nyhamna processing plant. The pipeline pull-in to Nyhamna is an important milestone to the project and the Polarled licensees,” says Håkon Ivarjord, MPR’s project venture manager.
The gas pipeline will be laid in water depths of up to 1265 metres. Even though smaller pipelines have been laid in waters exceeding this depth, this is the first time a gas pipeline measuring 36 inches in diameter is being installed at such water depth.
“When the pipeline is laid, we will install an end manifold with connection points for Aasta Hansteen and any future fields. Six T-joints on the pipeline for any further connections are also a unique feature of Polarled,” says Alfred Øijord, PRO’s project manager for Polarled.
Considerable cost reductions have so far been made by the Polarled Pipeline Project compared to the initial PAD estimate, as the company has obtained lower prices from the suppliers than originally calculated due to synergy effects with other pipeline projects and strict change and cost control.
This part of the Norwegian Sea has no infrastructure for gas, and efforts have been made over several years to develop various alternative gas transport solutions. The Polarled pipeline is the first pipeline to take the Norwegian gas infrastructure across the Arctic Circle.
“Polarled will have great and strategic impact on the future development of the region. The new pipeline will open a new gas province and stimulate exploration and resource development, which will fortify Statoil’s position as an exporter of gas to Europe,” says Jan Heiberg, acting head of the pipelines and processing unit of MPR asset management.