Three compressors required by the barge-mounted process plant for Statoil's gas liquefaction facility at Melkøya outside Hammerfest in northern Norway are now ready for delivery. However, it remains to be seen what impact the delay in dispatching these units will have on completing the plant assembly job at Spain's Dragados Offshore yard in Cadiz.
The compressors play a key role in cooling down natural gas from the Snøhvit field in the Barents Sea to the temperature at which it liquefies. Tests conducted in May 2004 showed that the compressors needed to be modified to meet specifications for the project. Statoil appointed a group of specialists to assist in finding a solution. Subsequent modifications have proven successful, and test results for the third compressor were approved on August 31.
"These units don't fully satisfy our original performance specifications," Arne Grislingås reports on behalf of Statoil's representatives in the specialist group. "However, the deviations are small and will have a limited impact on plant operation."
It is too early to say anything about the consequences of the considerable delay in delivering the compressors, according to Nils-Bjørn Jordal, Statoil's project director for the Melkøya plant. "Receiving these units almost six months behind the original schedule will have a knock-on effect in completing the process plant. We're doing what we can to recover the delays, but we'll clearly have to transfer work from Cadiz to Melkøya."
The compressors are now being readied for transport by heavy-lift ship to the Spanish yard.
Snøhvit is the first export facility for LNG in Norway and Europe. Up to 190 bcm of natural gas and 113 MMbbl of condensate will be produced from the Snøhvit, Albatross, and Askeladd fields the Barents Sea. Gas will be piped ashore, cooled, and shipped by special carrier to Spain and the US.
According to Statoil, the field will produce 5.67 bcm of LNG per year for export. Shipments are scheduled to begin in 2006 and will continue for more than 20 years.