Equinor has submitted a Nkr14.8 billion ($1.45 billion) development plan for the development of the Irpa field in the Norwegian Sea, eyeing first gas in the fourth quarter of 2026.

The development and operation plan was submitted to the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy on 22 November, the Norwegian energy major said.

The Voring Basin discovery harbours a potential 20 billion cubic metres of gas, and will be developed by a consortium with operator Equinor holding a 51% stake, Norwegian independent Petoro on 20%, Germany’s Wintershall Dea with 19% and Shell on 10%.

The discovery, made on offshore block licence 6707/10-1, is located 340 kilometres from the town of Bodo, just north of the Arctic Circle.

It is located in a water depth of around 1300 metres and will be developed with three wells and an 80-kilometre pipeline to the Aasta Hansteen platform.

Irpa: location of the field formerly known as Asterix in the Norwegian Sea Photo: Norwegian Petroleum Directorate

The Irpa field, formerly known as Asterix, has enough recoverable gas resource equivalent to supply almost 2.4 million British households for seven years, Equinor said.

The Norwegian state company, headed by Anders Odepal, said that gas from Irpa “will be phased into existing infrastructure over Aasta Hansteen and transported to the Nyhamna gas processing plant via Polarled. From there, gas will be transported via the Langeled pipeline system to customers in the UK and continental Europe".

Grete Birgitte Haaland, senior vice president for exploration and production at Equinor said: “The development shows that near-field exploration and utilisation of existing infrastructure provides good resource utilisation on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.”

Equinor project director Hogne Pedersen added: “It has been challenging to develop Irpa. Deep water and low temperatures on the seabed have necessitated the qualification of innovative new technology for pipelines, but good support in the partnership and increased demand for gas have made an investment decision possible.”

Equinor and its partners earlier this month postponed the final investment decision for the deep-water Wisting oilfield development in the Barents Sea after predicted costs spiralled by some 60% due to supply chain constraints and inflation.

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