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Posted on 29.09.2009 - 10:00 EDT in GENERAL NEWS by Rons_ROV_Links

Gassco and Shell have celebrated their inspection of the Langeled gas transport system by sending a letter of greeting to the chair of Easington council in the UK - through the pipeline.

The scheduled check of this facility, which runs from Nyhamna in Aukra local authority to Easington, has created a special opportunity to strengthen Anglo-Norwegian relations.

Bernhard Riksfjord, chair of Aukra council, has written a letter which will travel for 1 200 kilometres through Langeled to the UK terminal on a cleaning pig.

This missive will be received by Stuart Haywood, his opposite number on the English local council, at Gassco's receiving terminal for Langeled.

Shell and Gassco have also addressed a joint letter to their partners and colleagues at the British end of the pipeline. Gassco chief executive Brian Bjordal was present in Easington to read out the letter when it was retrieved from the pipeline.

Both letters were placed in a "postbox" on the pig, which was despatched from the receiving terminal for Ormen Lange gas at Nyhamna on 19 August.

Decorated for the occasion with both Norwegian and British flags, the pig was designated Jimmy 007. Its job was to prepare the pipeline for the inspection pig sent immediately afterwards.

The latter collects data about conditions in the pipeline and registers minute signs of corrosion. A "pigging job" of this kind is intended to ensure the technical integrity of the system. Under regulations from the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway, a pipeline must be inspected after two years of operation. However, Gassco and Shell wanted to make something more out of the routine requirement.

"Nobody's mailed a letter this way before," says Mr Bjordal. "The aim is to strengthen the good relations between Norway and the UK while highlighting the world's longest pigging operation.

"At peak, the UK can cover 20 per cent of its gas requirements from Ormen Lange and Langeled. This pipeline is accordingly crucial for British energy supplies.

"We use the best and most accurate tools available on the market. Extensive and thorough preparations over a long period together with our partners - Shell, StatoilHydro and Centrica - mean we're well prepared to handle the world's longest underwater pigging operations in the best possible way."

The UK is Europe's largest gas consumer. Since Langeled opened in 2006, no less than 41.5 billion standard cubic metres of gas have flowed from Norway to Easington.

In 2008 alone, just over 15 billion standard cubic metres were received at the British terminal. That represented the UK's total gas consumption for about two months. Norway ranks today as the world's second largest gas exporter, closely followed by Canada.

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