The addition of compressors to Norway’s Ormen Lange field is the latest step for Royal Dutch Shell in bumping up its output capacity for natural gas. That announcement came on September 27, when company executives traveled to the west coast of Norway to visit.


Shell currently produces approximately 50 million cubic meters (mcm) every day at the field. That production is then fed into the Langeled pipeline and helps cover one-fifth of all the natural gas used in the United Kingdom. The added capacity from two compressor allows for a 40 percent increase, boosting the daily amount to 70 mcm.

In late August, Shell completed testing of the compressor, which was developed by GE. The key reason for such testing is the innovation involved, since it will offer specifically designed subsea transmission, distribution and power supply for the first time.

Another compressor is destined for the Nyhamna plant, which currently can match that 70 mcm. After installation, the capacity will jump 20 percent to 84 mcm. The company’s general manager for Norway projects indicated that the project is about 85 percent complete.

While it will be ready next year, it will have to wait for the completion of the Aasta Hasteen, which one of Shell’s business partners, Statoil, has been constructing. The original plan was to begin such production in 2017, but problems with the Polarled subsea pipe pushed back the completion date a full year.

Statoil, along with DONG Energy, ExxonMobil and Petoro, has partnered with Shell in the Ormen Lange production, with the additional compressors used in part to extend the lifetime of the natural gas field. When production first began nearly a decade ago, reservoir pressure was strong enough to flourish on its own. The inevitable aging process requires additional assistance in this area.