As neighbours linked by a common sea, UK and Norway have long enjoyed strong economic ties underpinned by trade and investment in the oil and gas sector. Norway is the world’s third largest oil exporter and the sixth largest producer of natural gas.
On average, imported gas from Norway contributes 40% to our UK gas supply mix, and generates around 60% of UK’s imported oil. Hence Norway is by far the largest foreign supplier of oil and gas to the UK and will continue to be a significant resource for UK electricity generation capacity for many years to come. In addition UK and Norway have developed numerous projects in the North Sea including the world’s most sophisticated gas transportation network.
The history of Norwegian gas supply to the UK started almost 40 years ago with the signing of the Frigg gas sales agreement in 1973. For a number of years, Frigg and its satellites supplied around one-quarter of total UK gas demand.
Today there are two receiving terminals in the UK from Norway, Easington and St. Fergus. Vesterled, previously known as Frigg Norwegian Pipeline, is a natural gas pipeline system running from the Heimdal field in the North Sea to St Fergus Gas Plant in Scotland. The pipeline is 360km long and has a capacity of about 12 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year.
The Langeled pipeline (an underwater pipeline) runs 1,166 km from Nyhamna terminal through North Sea to Easington gas terminal in England. The annual capacity of this pipeline is 25.5 billion cubic metres and equates to some 20% of Britain’s peak gas demand. The relationship between UK and Norway continues to grow and a new agreement was recently signed enabling further collaboration to develop this valuable relationship between Norway as a gas supplier and the UK as an important gas consumer.