Snøhvit Future Envisages Gas Production Life Extension, Electrification

Equinor has submitted a plan for development and operations with Norwegian authorities that would add gas compression and electrification to the Hammerfest LNG plant.

A rendering of the Hammerfest LNG plant post-project.
SOURCE: Equinor

The Snøhvit partners will invest just over $1.3 billion on upgrading the Hammerfest LNG plant (HLNG) at Melkøya by revamping the gas onshore compression and electrifying the project. Operator Equinor submitted a plan for development and operation (PDO) of the project, dubbed Snøhvit Future, to Norway's Minister of Petroleum and Energy on behalf of the partnership.

Onshore gas compression will provide enough flow from the reservoir to extend plateau production and maintain high gas exports from HLNG beyond 2030. Electrification will reduce CO2 emissions from HLNG by around 850,000 tons per year.

“Snøhvit Future will strengthen Norway’s position as a reliable and long-term supplier of LNG to Europe,” said Geir Tungesvik, Equinor’s executive vice president for projects, drilling, and procurement. "Electrification will allow us to deliver this gas with close to zero greenhouse gas emissions from production. The project will secure long-term operations and gas exports from Melkøya towards 2050.”

During normal production conditions, HLNG delivers 18.4 million standard m3 of gas per day, or 6.5 billion m3 per year. This is equivalent to the energy demand of around 6.5 million European homes, or 5% of all Norwegian gas export.

Three large modules will be installed at the plant, which will also be subject to extensive modifications. In addition, there will be construction of a tunnel and a transformer station in the Hammerfest region to bring electric power to Melkøya.

Higher demand for power to HLNG will trigger construction of a 420-kV power line from Skaidi to Hyggevatn, and the Snøhvit partners will provide an investment contribution. The new line will provide higher grid capacity to Hammerfest, potentially paving the way for new industrial developments in the area.

“We are converting to electric operation at Melkøya, thereby reducing annual emissions of CO2 by around 850,000 tons,” said Grete B. Haaland, senior vice president for exploration and production north. “This is one of the largest individual emission reduction measures for decarbonization of oil and gas production in Norway. The project is a key contributor to the energy transition.”

Electrification will replace the current gas turbine generators with power from shore. According to Equinor, this will cut emissions equivalent to 13% of the oil and gas industry’s overall 55% emissions reduction by 2030. The project’s emissions reductions correspond to 2% of Norway’s annual emissions.

“Snøhvit is currently the second-largest producing field for Neptune Energy in Norway, representing about 25% of our total production in the country,” said Odin Estensen, managing director for Norway and the UK for Snøhvit partner Neptune Energy. “The electrification of Snøhvit is a major step towards the decarbonization of our production.”