Norway’s Equinor ASA reported it has fully cut ties with its Russian projects as it finishes a long-awaited restart of one of Europe’s largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals.
Equinor launched a plan to end all future investments and divest from current partnerships in Russia shortly after the country’s forces invaded Ukraine in February. The company reported it took a more than $1 billion impairment in 1Q2022 by ending the trade of Russian gas and oil.
On May 25, Equinor announced it had completed its transfer of ownership in four Russian joint ventures with PJSC Rosneft Oil Co. to the state-controlled company. It also has signed an agreement to leave an exploration project of the Kharyaga field in the Polar Circle.
As Europe and western allies levy further sanctions on Russia and try to reduce reliance on Russian gas. Equinor announced Thursday its Hammerfest LNG terminal on Norway’s northern coast has started liquifying natural gas. The 4.3 million metric tons/year capacity terminal was down for more than 20 months after being impacted by a 2020 fire.
“With the start-up of Hammerfest LNG, we add further volume to the already substantial gas deliveries from Norway,” Equinor’s Irene Rummelhoff, executive vice president of marketing, midstream and processing, said.
The timeline of Hammerfest’s restart moved several times as the company dealt with Covid-19 protocols during the process. It faced one final delay at the end of last month when a compressor fault was discovered. The company decided to extend start-up another week as LNG carriers began to arrive offshore.
Norway is Europe’s second largest pipeline gas supplier and made up about 23% of Europe’s total volumes last year. More than 5% of average Norwegian gas exports comes from Hammerfest LNG. The terminal chills gas for export from the Snohvit field in the Barents Sea. French major TotalEnergies SE and Singapore’s Pavilion Energy Pte. Ltd. hold long-term contracts for nearly half the plant’s capacity.
Equinor recently announced the company and its partners also plan on investing around US$949.7 million to develop new finds in the gas-rich Asgard field in the Norwegian Sea. The project could consist of two phases beginning in 2024 and 2029, respectively. Recoverable gas and condensates in the unit known as Halten East have been estimated at 100 million boe/d, according to Equinor.
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