"Norway is a reliable and secure energy supplier to Europe, largely because we are good at making each other better on the Norwegian continental shelf. We have a culture where we are open and receptive to improvements, and over time this gives steadily better results. This culture carries across both company borders and national borders, and it is quite unique," says Alfred Skår Hansen, senior vice president for system operation in Gassco.
Gassco is operator for the integrated Norwegian gas transport system and is responsible for gas deliveries from the NCS to Europe. To enable the record in December, Hansen highlights three input factors that have been decisive.
"All fields, pipelines and onshore facilities have produced high and stable over a long period of time. Furthermore, the transportation system as a whole has been accessible and robust, particularly because the Kollsnes processing plant has carried out successful robustness and capacity increase this autumn. Lastly, the downstream market has also been stable and predictable, all at a time when we have had strong winds, extreme cold and huge amounts of snowfall,” Hansen adds.
Record deliveries to Germany
In total for the year, Gassco transported 109.1 BCM of natural gas to Europe in 2023. The German market accounts for the largest volumes, with 56.2 billion cubic metres of gas transported.
"Total deliveries in 2023 are slightly lower than the previous year. Here we must add that 2022 was an exceptional year in which many conditions were created to maximise deliveries from the NCS during that fateful winter. For the German market, we have transported record volumes of gas in 2023 and a contributor here has also been the new branch pipeline via Denmark," says Hansen.
In the autumn of 2021, a new branch pipeline from Europipe II to Denmark opened. The new offtake enables increased total capacity for the pipeline as a whole, in addition to opening up for Norwegian natural gas to new markets.
Extensive maintenance in 2023
There are more than 65 field licenses on the Norwegian continental shelf, in addition to onshore facilities and delivery points. These installations require regular, scheduled maintenance. Gassco's role is to coordinate these maintenance activities to meet the market need at all times. Maintenance is carried out during the maintenance period April to September and the scope of activities for the current year varies.
"In 2023, we have carried out an extensive maintenance programme and done a lot of good work to ensure reliable and efficient operation of the entire production and transport system. It is important that this is well taken care of before we enter the winter season and high season for exports of Norwegian gas to our markets in Europe," says Hansen.
Gassco expects the same amount of pressure in transport demand for 2024, and is prepared for a new year of good cooperation and new records in deliveries from the NCS.
"There is still a great need to import natural gas in Europe, and the good maintenance work carried out in 2023 enables us to enter 2024 with a transport system that is able to handle expected demand both in terms of safety and production," Hansen concludes.
Delivery figures to other markets*
**From the "Germany pipe" Europipe II, an offtake was opened in 2021 towards Denmark, and has provided increased capacity for both exit points as a result. These volumes are exchanged to maximise total delivery, and volumes to Denmark are made available for new markets, including Germany. These volumes are therefore calculated together in our delivery statistics.