UK seeks Norwegian gas

Nov 02, 2001 01:00 AM

Britain and Norway are to study proposed pipeline connections to bring Norwegian gas into the increasingly import-dependent UK market and ease concerns about relying on more distant supplies. The North Sea oil and gas fields should be "seen as one area rather than two divided by a border", said Brian Wilson, the energy minister, as he and Einar Steensnaes, his Norwegian counterpart, announced the creation of a joint working group.
It will consist of government and industry representatives of the Pilot group set up to extend the life of the UK North Sea oil sector, and of Topplederforum, its Norwegian counterpart. "There is scope for more interconnections to give Norway access to our liberalised market and to meet our demands," Mr Wilson told a Norwegian oil and gas conference organised by the CWC group in London.

Britain and Norway boosted offshore cooperation earlier this year by agreeing on the Vesterled pipeline to link Norway's Heimdal gas processing facility to the Frigg pipeline, whichlinks the dwindling Frigg field to Britain. Mr Wilson is chairing the government's energy review, which is partly motivated by the fact that Britain is sliding into import dependence for gas. The government would prefer to take gas from its neighbouring ally rather than more distant and possibly volatile Russia.
Mr Wilson pointed out that "carriage of Norwegian gas also prolongs the life of UK pipelines", which in turn remained available to help squeeze more out of the British sector. The UK developed its part of the North Sea earlier and faster than Norway, which has husbanded its resources.

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