Current STO Stock Info

Efforts to cut gas supplies from Russia appear to be working

Norway state-owned gas operator Gassco reported that the country exported 29.2 Bcm of gas to western Europe in the first quarter of the year, overtaking Russian exports to Europe of 20.29 Bcm, based on data from Gazprom (ticker: OGZPY). Data from both companies shows the trend began in Q4 of last year when Europe bought 29.5 Bcm from Norway and 19.8 Bcm from Russia, reports Reuters.

This marks the first time Norwegian exports have convincingly overtaken supply from Russia since a brief period in 2012.

Increasing gas supplies from Norway are part of the European Union’s drive to cut its energy dependence on Russia as tensions over events in Ukraine continue to sour relations between Russia and Western Europe. The sharp drop in oil prices since last November also helped to encourage greater imports from Norway as the country offered more flexible pricing than its Russian counterpart.

Several large buyers held off on purchases from Russia hoping that lower oil prices would eventually translate into more affordable gas prices as well.

Troll Field back online

Norwegian capacity was boosted during the quarter by the end of an outage at the Troll field, which produces around 30% of the country’s gas, further

Source: Statoil

Source: Statoil

pushing prices down. According to Statoil (ticker: STO) the Troll field “represents the very cornerstone of Norway’s offshore gas production.”

Troll returned to full capacity of 120 Mcm/d in March of last year, but volumes were deliberately kept low over the summer in line with reduced demand.

The Troll field is also home to the Troll A Platform, the tallest structure ever moved by humans. At 472 meters, it is comparable in height to the Petronas Towers in Malaysia.

Source: Shell Troll A Platform being towed

Source: Shell Troll A Platform being towed

Russia remained largest supplier in 2014, but share of supply is slipping

Despite the increased gas supplies from Norway, Russia remained the largest supplier of gas to Western Europe in 2014, said the European Commission, the E.U.’s executive body. Imports of Russian gas to the E.U. fell by more than 10% in terms of volume, while its share of total imports dipped to 42% from 43%. Norway’s share of E.U. imports increased to 38% from 34% in 2014.

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Stats on the Troll A Platform

The Troll A platform has an overall height of 472 metres (1,549 ft), weighs 683,600 tons (1,2 million tons with ballast) and has the distinction of being the tallest structure ever moved by mankind. The platform stands on the sea floor 303 metres (994 feet) below the surface of the sea and one of the continuous-slip-formed concrete cylindrical legs (the leg containing the import and export risers) has an elevator that takes over nine minutes to travel from the platform above the waves to the sea floor. The walls of Troll A's legs are over 1 metre thick made of steel reinforced concrete formed in one continuous pour (slip forming) and each is a mathematically joined composite of several conical cylinders that flares out smoothly to greater diameters at both the top and bottom, so each support is somewhat wasp-waisted viewed in profile and circular in any cross-section. The concrete legs must be able to withstand intense pressure so are built using a continuous flow of concrete, a lengthy process that takes 20 minutes per 5 cm laid.

The four legs are joined by a "chord shortener", a reinforced concrete box interconnecting the legs, but which has the designed function of damping out unwanted potentially destructive wave-leg resonances by retuning the leg natural frequencies. Each leg is also sub-divided along its length into compartments a third of the way from each end which act as independent water-tight compartments. The legs use groups of six 40 metres (130 ft) tall vacuum-anchors holding it fixed in the mud of the sea floor.

Troll A was built by Norwegian Contractors for Norske Shell, with base construction beginning in July 1991 at a cost of 4150 million NOK, or approximately US$650,000,000 at the time.

The Troll platform was towed over 200 kilometres (120 mi) from Vats, in the northern part of Rogaland, to the Troll field, 80 kilometres (50 mi) north-west of Bergen. The tow took seven days.  

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