Norway Reaches Deal To Keep $20 Billion North Sea Project On Track

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June 4, 2014

ReutersOSLO, June 4 (Reuters) – The electrification of Norwegian oil platforms in an area of the North Sea with power from the shore must be completed by 2022, the country’s parliament said on Wednesday, settling a dispute that had threatened a $20 billion Statoil project.

The decision means the development of the Johan Sverdrup oilfield, expected to start producing in 2019, will now not be delayed as feared.

“We want electrification as soon as possible, and to be in place by the latest in 2022,” Terje Aasland, a parliamentarian from the opposition Labour Party, told broadcaster TV2. “We don’t want to delay the development of Johan Sverdrup.”

The project is the biggest industrial development in Norway in decades. The partners in the field are Statoil, Det norske, Lundin Petroleum and Maersk Oil, a unit of shipping giant A.P Moeller Maersk.

“It will not delay the first phase of development of Johan Sverdrup, which was uncertain with the initial deal,” said Nikolai Astrup from the ruling Conservatives, who were keen for the project not to be delayed.

The project was thrown in doubt last month when a majority of parties in parliament called for the platforms to be built at Sverdrup, as well as others in the Utsira High area, to use electricity from the shore, an environmentally friendly move but one that could cause higher costs and delays.

The move went further than the government, which rules with a minority, supported. But now all parties in parliament, except the Greens, with one member of parliament, have agreed a deal.

Norway generates 99 percent of its power from hydro generators but offshore platforms operate on generators that mostly burn diesel or gas.

(Reporting by Gwladys Fouche, editing by David Evans)

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