Equinor, the leading European pipeline natural gas and LNG supplier from the Norwegian Continental Shelf, has submitted a plan of development for a gas field to boost supplies to the UK and the European Union.
Equinor said its plan had gone to the Norwegian Minister for Petroleum and Energy for the Irpa gas discovery, formerly known as the Asterix field.
The Irpa gas field is in the Vøring Basin in the Norwegian Sea, located about 80 kilometres west of the world’s largest spar platform, the Aasta Hansteen platform, and 340km west of Bodø in Norway’s Nordland county just north of the Arctic Circle.
Equinor, which owns 51 percent of the field, explained that the discovery was proven way back in 2009 and contains 19.3 billion standard cubic metres of natural gas
The company’s partners in the venture include the Norwegian state firm Petoro, Shell plc and Germany’s Wintershall DEA.
“The Irpa discovery will be developed with three wells and an 80-km long tie-back pipeline to Aasta Hansteen in water depths of 1,350 metres,” explained Equinor.
The Norwegian company and the other shareholders intend to spend 14.8 billion Norwegian crowns ($1.44Bln) to bring the field on stream in the fourth quarter of 2026.
Equinor said that there would be joint production from Irpa and Aasta Hansteen through 2031 and then the Irpa field would continue to produce until 2039.
“This is a good day and the development of Irpa will contribute to predictable and long-term deliveries of gas to customers in the European Union and the UK,” declared Geir Tungesvik, Equinor’s executive vice president for Projects, Drilling and Procurement.
The company explained that the gas will be phased into existing infrastructure over Aasta Hansteen and transported to the Nyhamna gas processing plant via Polarled.
From there, gas will be transported via the Langeled pipeline system to customers in the UK and continental Europe.
“The development shows that near-field exploration and utilisation of existing infrastructure provides good resource utilisation on the NCS,” said Grete Birgitte Haaland, senior vice president for Exploration and Production North at Equinor.
“Irpa will maintain existing jobs at Aasta Hansteen, at the supply base in Sandnessjøen, at the helicopter base in Brønnøysund and at the operations centre in Harstad,” she stated.