* Pipeline gas exports rise to 107.6 bcm
* Troll field contributes to higher volumes
OSLO, Jan 9 (Reuters) - Norway exported a record 107.6 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas in 2012, gas system operator Gassco said on Wednesday.
Norway pipeline gas exports meets around a fifth of Europe’s consumption, making it the second-biggest supplier after Russia, and its importance has been increasing as domestic production depletes in the UK.
“This represents a new record for Norway’s annual gas deliveries,”, said Brian Bjordal, the chief executive of Gassco.
Norway gas exports for the full 2012 rose by 13.4 bcm from 94.2 mcm in 2011.
“That reflects high and stable output from the Norwegian continental shelf and strong demand, which confirms in turn that gas from Norway is more attractive than ever,” Bjordal said.
Analysts said higher volumes came as a result of increased production from Norway’s main gas field, Troll, which accounts for about 40 percent of total output.
“That was possible both since the annual Troll quota had been revised upward by the Ministry of Energy and since the demand for Norwegian gas was high, despite lacklustre total gas demand in Europe in 2012,” said Bjorn Brochmann, head of gas market analysis at Oslo-based Thomson Reuters Point Carbon.
Deliveries of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and condensate from the processing plants at Kaarstoe and Kollsnes totalled almost 8 million tonnes, similar to the levels in 2011, Gassco added.
Gassco is the operator of gas processing plants, while Statoil is the technical service provider.
On Wednesday, Statoil unveiled plans to develop its 47 billion cubic metre Aasta Hansteen gas field in the Norwegian Sea, and build a new pipeline.
The field is expected to produce about 23 million cubic metres of gas per day, it said in the presentation.