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Ormen Lange problem cuts Norway gas output

Norwegian gas exports were cut by a fifth of peak capacity on Thursday after an outage at the plant processing gas from Royal Dutch Shell’s giant Ormen Lange field, limiting gas exports to Europe at a time of high demand.

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Thu Nov 28, 2013 5:23am EST

* Norway’s gas exports cut by 17 pct on Thurs vs Wed

* UK gas prices rise on the news

* Gas exports cut to last until 0500 GMT on Friday

* Statoil’s gas output cut by 25.5 mcm/day on Thursday

By Balazs Koranyi and Gwladys Fouche

OSLO, Nov 28 (Reuters) – Norwegian gas exports were cut by a fifth of peak capacity on Thursday after an outage at the plant processing gas from Royal Dutch Shell’s giant Ormen Lange field, limiting gas exports to Europe at a time of high demand.

Norway is Britain’s top gas supplier and the European Union’s second-largest gas supplier after Russia, supplying 20 percent of its gas.

British gas prices rose, with prices for delivery within the day trading at 71.45 pence per therm at 0930 GMT on Thursday, up 1.52 pence since opening.

Prices for delivery on Friday were up 0.55 pence to 70.75 pence a therm.

At 0939 GMT Norwegian gas exports were flowing at 251 mcm per day, 52 mcm per day less than on Wednesday and equivalent to a 17 percent cut, according to data from Thomson Reuters Point Carbon.

Norwegian exports are currently 21.5 percent below Norway’s current peak capacity of 320 mcm per day.

Production at the Ormen Lange onshore plant halted late on Wednesday after a power trip. North Sea infrastructure operator Gassco said the outage would cut Norwegian gas exports by 35 mcm per day from 0500 GMT on Thursday until 0500 GMT on Friday.

It increased that figure to 45 mcm per day at 0910 GMT.

Separately, Statoil said on its website its gas exports would be cut by 25.5 mcm per day on Thursday, up from the 13 mcm per day announced earlier in the day.

Its gas output would also be reduced by 8.5 mcm per day on Friday.

It did not give a reason for the outage, but it is likely that it is due to the problems at Ormen Lange. The dates for the outages coincide and Statoil has a stake in the field.

Statoil also sells gas on behalf of Norwegian state-owned firm Petoro, which also has a stake in Ormen Lange.

The other partners in Ormen Lange are Denmark’s DONG Energy and ExxonMobil.

SOURCE

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