OSLO, March 26 (Reuters) – Development of the Johan Sverdrup oilfield in the North Sea may be delayed by a year and cost more than planned if Norway’s parliament insists on having it be powered from shore, the Dagens Naeringsliv daily newspaper reported on Wednesday.
The biggest North Sea field find in decades, it has reserves of up to 2.9 billion barrels of oil equivalent and is expected to start production in 2019 at an initial cost estimated at 100 billion to 120 billion crowns ($16.4 billion-$19.7 billion).
Statoil has committed to power the first phase from shore, a move in line with the government’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions, but it has not commited to power from land for the entire area, known as the Utsira High, home to other oil developments.
However, a majority in parliament support a full electrification of the area, including the Christian Democrats and Liberals, two small parties which the centre-right government of Erna Solberg relies on to stay in power.
“Statoil is gambling when they put forward a proposal that does not include full electrification when Parliament has been very clear about this,” Heikki Holmaas, a lawmaker from the Socialist Left party in opposition, told the newspaper.
Statoil said this would cause a delay of a year to the project and would increase costs by 20 billion crowns.
Authorities have pushed oil firms to power platforms from shore, where hydro generation is in abundance, to stop them from using hydrocarbons offshore.
The partners in the Johan Sverdrup field are Norway’s Statoil and Det norske, Sweden’s Lundin Petroleum and Denmark’s.