Unique and well-functioning transport system

An efficiently-organised and ever more extensive transport system has been crucial for Norway’s position as one of the world’s largest exporters of natural gas.

An efficiently-organised and ever more extensive transport system has been crucial for Norway’s position as one of the world’s largest exporters of natural gas.

Gassco is responsible for safe and efficient operation of the network. It also serves as the architect for ensuring integrated further development of this infrastructure.

The transport system from the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) to continental Europe and the UK has evolved in line with Norway’s gas production. What began in 1977 with a single export pipeline from Ekofisk to Germany now encompasses 8 300 kilometres of steel tubes on the seabed.

This unique value chain, extending from production in rough seas to consumers in Europe, also comprises large process plants in mainland Norway, offshore platforms for gas blending, and terminals in four European countries.

Gassco was established by the Storting (parliament) in 2001. At the same time, the decision was taken to locate its head office on the Norwegian west coast.

The Ministry of Petroleum and Energy has assigned two primary roles to Gassco in relation to the transport system for Norwegian gas: the normal operatorship and the special operatorship.

Gassco’s normal operatorship covers management of assets, administration of licences and development of projects. An important part of asset management is to ensure that health, safety and environmental (HSE) requirements at these facilities are met.

Within the normal operatorship, Gassco is subject to the authority of the asset owners to issue instructions to it under agreements with these companies.

Gassco’s special operatorship deals with duties allocated by the government under  national legislation and regulations. These cover planning, supervising, coordinating and managing the movement of gas from fields to terminals.

In addition comes administration of capacity in the transport system as well as studies on and development of new gas infrastructure. Within the special operatorship, Gassco is not subject to instructions from owners or users.

Gassco is not intended to earn revenues or make a profit from its activities, but administers large cash flows on behalf of the transport system’s owners and users. Tariff revenues in the system amount to NOK 25-30 billion per year.

Agreements have been reached by Gassco with other companies on the purchase of operating services. These include day-to-day operation of the big processing plants in mainland Norway.

Gassco is owned by the Norwegian state and had 350 employees at the beginning of 2017. Most of the infrastructure it operates is owned by the Gassled partnership. The transport system’s owners also finance Gassco’s activities.

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