Ormen Lange overview
The Ormen Lange deep-water project off the coast of Norway produces natural gas from deep beneath the Norwegian Sea and pipes it onshore to the processing plant at Nyhamna. The plant supplies approximately 20% of the UK’s gas. In recent years produced gas from Ormen Lange has equaled up to 20% of the UK’s total gas consumption.
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%), INEOS (14%) and ExxonMobil (6.3%)
Design: Ormen Lange is a subsea development with four well templates connection to an onshore production facility
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, who merged with Statoil in October 2007, was the operator in the development phase.
Aerial view of Nyhamna onshore facility
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. Produced condensate 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
A network of computers receives thousands of signals from beneath the Norwegian Sea, helping experts spot anything unusual and act quickly.
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Shell has a long history of developing energy projects using its knowledge, experience and proven deep-water technologies to unlock new resources safely and efficiently. Read more about Shell’s deep-water work around the world.