Explainer - How Does Norway Export Its Natural Gas?

Credit: Gassco
Credit: Gassco

A gas pipeline and a data cable connecting Finland and Estonia under the Baltic Sea sustained damaged on Sunday due to "outside activity" according to Helsinki, stoking concern over the security of energy supply in the region.

Finland's neighbor Norway is Europe's largest gas exporter, exporting more than 120 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas in 2022. 

The Nordic country exports its gas via a network of subsea pipelines to consumers, such as Britain and Germany. In addition, it ships liquefied natural gas (LNG).    

Here is a look at Norway's export routes.

HOW MANY PIPELINES ARE THERE?

Norway last year piped 116.9 bcm of gas to the European Union and Britain via a pipeline system of more than 8,800 km (5,470 miles), consisting of 22 individual pipelines operated by Gassco.

In addition, gas produced from the Alvheim and Martin Linge fields is exported to Britain via pipelines managed by other operators. 

The SAGE pipeline, which ships gas from Alvheim, is operated by Ancala Midstream, while the FUKA pipeline, which ships gas from Martin Linge, is operated by North Sea Midstream Partners. 

WHO RECEIVES NORWEGIAN GAS?

The pipelines connect to seven receiving terminals: Britain and Germany each have two, and Belgium, Denmark and France all have one.    

The Easington terminal on the east coast of England, receives gas through the Langeled pipeline, while the St Fergus terminal in Scotland connects to the Flags and the Vesterled pipelines. 

Germany's terminals in Dornum and Emden, located along the North Sea coast close to the Dutch border, connect to the  Europipe I and II, and the Norpipe pipelines respectively.

In Belgium, a terminal at the port of Zeebrugge connects to the Zeepipe pipeline, while gas through the Franpipe pipeline is received at a terminal in Dunkerque, France.

Since 2022, the Nybro terminal on the Danish west coast receives Norwegian gas through the Baltic Pipe, which crosses Denmark before continuing subsea into Poland.

DOES NORWAY EXPORT LNG?

Norway also operates one liquefaction terminal in the Arctic town of Hammerfest, also known as Melkoeya. 

It can deliver 6.5 billion cubic metres of LNG per year, accounting for about 5% of Norwegian gas exports. 

In 2022, exports from the terminal were only 3.7 bcm because the plant was offline until the end of May following a fire in September 2020.

Although LNG tankers can extend the reach of Norwegian gas beyond Europe, almost all of the exports went to European destinations in 2022. 

WHO PRODUCES GAS IN NORWAY?    

The country has attracted international companies, including Wintershall Dea, TotalEnergies, ConocoPhillips and Shell.

However, the biggest player is Equinor, majority-owned by the Norwegian state. It produced more than 45 billion cubic metres of natural gas, roughly 36% of total Norwegian production of 123.8 bcm in 2022.

Equinor also sells gas on behalf of Petoro, a fully state-owned company that holds stakes in offshore fields but does not operate any assets itself. 

Norway top 10 gas producers in 2021 https://tmsnrt.rs/3Fw7ci6

Norway's oil and gas production  https://tmsnrt.rs/3QrVngZ

 (Reuters - Reporting by Nora Buli and Nerijus Adomaitis, editing by Gwladys Fouche and Barbara Lewis, Kirsten Donovan)

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