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Norway's Gassco points to 50 million cu m day-ahead impact from Nyhamna strike

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Norway's Gassco points to 50 million cu m day-ahead impact from Nyhamna strike


Industrial action set to begin at midnight

Would force closure of Ormen Lange, Aasta Hansteen

Norwegian gas flows running at eight-month high

London — Norway's gas system operator Gassco said Nov. 27 that the planned strike by security guards at the Nyhamna gas processing facility would have a day-ahead impact of 50 million cu m/d of gas, or around 15% of its current export volume.

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The closure of Nyhamna -- which has the capacity to process some 84 million cu m/d of gas -- would have the knock-on effect of forcing the closure of fields that feed the plant, including the Shell-operated Ormen Lange and the Equinor-operated Aasta Hansteen fields.

Gassco pointed to the "planned shutdown" of the plant due to the strike in an updated REMIT note on Nov. 27.

Gassco is operator for the plant, while Shell serves as the technical service provider.

The Norwegian Union of General Workers (Norsk Arbeidsmandsforbund) has said security guards at Nyhamna would join a nationwide strike that started in mid-September.

More guards have been pulled into the strike at regular intervals, with 85 more set to join from midnight to add to the 2,373 guards already having joined the action.

The union could not be reached for more comment Nov. 27, including on how long the strike action could last.

However, with the first withdrawal of guards having taken place on Sept. 16, the more than two-month-long action shows no sign of easing.

Emergency response duties

A Gassco spokesman said that in the event that the strike goes ahead, it would have consequences for operations at Nyhamna and gas exports to Europe.

"This is because the security guards have duties in the emergency response organization," he said.

"We are now working continuously to draw up -- and be in a position to implement -- mitigating measures, and safety and emergency preparedness will be our top priorities."

The temporary closure of Nyhamna would have a serious impact on Norwegian gas flows, which this week hit an eight-month high, with exports reaching 345 million cu m/d, the highest level since late March, according to Gassco data.

Norwegian gas exports already suffered a setback in early October when strike action forced the closure of a number of oil and gas fields.

The strike by workers of the Lederne union, which ran from Oct. 5-9, took out around 35 million cu m/d of gas supply.

Aasta Hansteen -- which has a production capacity of 23 million cu m/d -- started up in December 2018 and was a landmark for gas on the Norwegian Continental Shelf as the first deepwater development in the Norwegian Sea, and at 1,300 meters, the deepest development on the NCS.

Aasta Hansteen is linked to the Nyhamna facility via the 480 km Polarled pipeline and produced 6.75 Bcm of gas in 2019, according to Norwegian data.

Ormen Lange started production in 2007, and last year produced 12.63 Bcm, according to the data.