Ormen Lange key facts

Location: Norwegian Sea, 120 kilometres (75 miles) north west of Kristiansund, Norway

Depth: 850-1,100 metres

Interests: Shell (17.8% operator), Statoil (25.4%), Petoro (36.5%), Dong (14%) and ExxonMobil (6.3%)

Fields: Ormen Lange

Design capacity: 70 million standard cubic metres gas/day

Project development

Ormen Lange is one of Norway’s largest industrial projects to date and at the height of construction it involved around 20,000 people from more than 50 countries.

The construction team started work in April 2004. From September the same year they spent 18 months creating underground storage areas for condensate, a light oil.

In 2005, the team laid foundations for buildings and equipment, installed concrete columns and laid cable trays. In total, they used 200,000 cubic metres of concrete. In October 2005, the drillship West Navigator started drilling the first well on the Ormen Lange field.

In 2006, the team installed 30,000 tonnes of steel in pipe structures at the facility.

The facility was completed, tested and commissioned in September 2007. Shell took over operatorship of Ormen Lange on December 1, 2007. Hydro was the operator in the development phase. Hydro merged with Statoil in October 2007.   


Ormen Lange operates without a platform and includes 19 wells divided between four templates – structures containing slots for well equipment – on the sea floor. Two 30-inch pipelines transport the gas to the land facility in Nyhamna, where it is separated into natural gas and condensate for export. It produces around 3,000-4,000 cubic metres a day of condensate, which is stored in underground caverns prior to export by tanker.

The Ormen Lange wellbores were the world’s largest in diameter at the time of installation.

The gas only spends about ten minutes at the processing facility before travelling 1,200 kilometres (745 miles) through the Langeled pipeline – one of the world’s longest subsea pipelines – to the UK.

Ormen Lange established Norway as the third largest exporter of gas in the world, after Russia and Qatar.

Environment and society

Nyhamna runs mainly on hydropower from the Norwegian grid, which dramatically reduces emissions compared to similar facilities powered by fossil fuels.

Several programmes monitor the effect of Nyhamna on the environment, including air, sea, plants and animals. The results so far indicate a negligible impact.

Any water produced is cleaned in a biological treatment plant before being discharged into the sea.

More in about us

Ready to respond

A network of computers receives thousands of signals from beneath the Norwegian Sea, helping experts spot anything unusual and act quickly.

Standing up to the elements

Engineers found new ways to install production equipment in dark and icy waters 850 metres deep, while facing storms at the surface.

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