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ABERDEEN PRESS & JOURNAL: SECURE UK SUPPLIES IN THE PIPELINE AS LANGELED FLOWS

 08:50 – 02 October 2007
 
Uk gas supplies were bolstered yesterday following the completion of a £5.5billion project to deliver gas from Norway’s Ormen Lange field.

The Langeled pipeline, the world’s longest underwater pipeline, began transporting gas for commercial use from the field to Easington after three weeks of testing.

National Grid said it expected the pipe to deliver more than a billion cubic feet of gas daily for the next six months, adding that there was potential to increase this over two years.

This represents a significant boost to UK gas supplies, helping to offset Britain’s own dwindling North Sea reserves.

Ormen Lange, due to be operated by Shell from December, is expected to be able to eventually meet around one-fifth of all the UK’s gas needs.

The field, Norway’s second biggest after Statoil’s Troll, has taken 10 years to develop at a cost of £5.5billion. The formal opening of the development takes place on Saturday.

Shell shares the licence for the field with Danish group Dong, US energy giant Exxon, Norwegian state-owned Petoro and newly merged StatoilHydro.

The southern part of Langeled, which delivers gas from Norway’s existing southern gas fields, was opened by Tony Blair in October last year, and immediately led to a fall in wholesale gas prices.

There are no such expectations for when the pipeline becomes fully operational this year.

Scottish Gas owner Centrica, which operates the terminal at Easington where the gas will enter National Grid’s transmission system, has already said consumers are unlikely to see a fall in gas bills this winter.

Crude oil prices fell yesterday as investors took profits after near record highs last week. A weak dollar helped to check losses in top consumer the US, where crude slipped 1.42 to 80.24 a barrel, having slid as low as 79.55 in earlier trade. London Brent crude settled 1.53 lower to 77.64 a barrel.

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