Statoil: Polarled Becomes First Pipeline to Cross Arctic Circle

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On Friday 21 August the Polarled gas pipeline crossed 66 degrees and 33 minutes north of the equator and became the first pipeline to cross the Arctic Circle, Statoil reported.

The 482-kilometre long and 36-inch wide pipeline will run from Nyhamna in western Norway to the Aasta Hansteen field in the Norwegian Sea.

Allseas’ pipelaying vessel, Solitaire, is carrying out the job.

During the start-up in March the pipeline was pulled in to Nyhamna. During September the vessel will arrive at the Aasta Hansteen field, if weather permits, Statoil wrote.

“We are progressing well at the moment, conditions have been good for more than 50 days in a row, and at the end of July we set a record of laying 4.8 kilometres of pipes in one day,” says Kenneth Aksel Kristensen, one of Statoil’s company representatives on board the vessel.

Every pipe is 12.2 metres long and the vessel is laying around four kilometres of pipes a day.

“The pipes arrive from Wasco in the city of Mo i Rana, where they are coated. This means that they have been given a concrete layer to protect them from trawling and make them heavier,” explains Kristensen.

Building for the future

At start-up the gas from Aasta Hansteen will be the only gas passing through Polarled, but the pipeline has a diameter of 36 inches and capacity for more gas:

“We have therefore installed six connection points, call it future slip roads to the new gas highway,” says Håkon Ivarjord, Statoil’s project venture manager for the Polarled development project. “Polarled will open up for gas export to Europe from a completely new gas province, and with the infrastructure in place it will also be more attractive to explore the surrounding area.”

The Solitaire crew is working around the clock, says Statoil. There are 410 people on board the vessel, including two asset owner representatives from Statoil and eight people from DNV GL – who are also part of the day and night operation.

This autumn the new highway for gas from the Norwegian Sea will be ready for use – on time and below budget, the company concludes.

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