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By Lefteris Karagiannopoulos
OSLO, May 30 (Reuters) - Norway’s gas production in 2018 is expected to match or just lag last year’s record, the chief executive of pipeline system operator Gassco told Reuters on Wednesday.
“For the total of 2018, we will be approximately at the same level as 2017, or maybe it could come slightly below,” said CEO Frode Leversund, adding the final outcome would depend on the delivered volumes of July as well as the demand from Oct. 1.
Norway last year produced 124.2 billion standard cubic metres of gas, of which 117.4 billion was exported via pipelines to Europe and 5.6 billion was shipped as liquefied natural gas (LNG).
In 2019, production was also seen at around 2017-2018 levels, Leversund said.
Gassco’s yearly maintenance schedule, which started in April, is so far on track, and any additional needs that may arise will be handled during the summer window, the CEO said.
Gassco will also conduct preventive maintenance at its Kollsnes processing plant to avoid a recurrence of last winter’s outage, when the ‘Beast from the East’ cold snap shut the plant for days just as demand spiked.
At Nyhamna, a major processing plant that will start receiving additional gas from the new Aasta Hansteen field in late 2018, Gassco is in final negotiations with electricity grid operators to boost the security of its power supply.
“We are in very tight dialogue with Statnett and other local grid operators ... There is work ongoing. There are several options, we are running a project now to conclude on the option we will decide to take on,” said Leversund.
Separately, Gassco has also been contacted by companies that want to transport natural gas from the Arctic Barents Sea, and is currently making an infrastructure plan for the remote region, he added. (Editing by Terje Solsvik and Nerijus Adomaitis; Editing by Mark Potter)