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Total, GDF Say Premature to Decide Snohvit LNG Plant Expansion

Total SA (FP) and GDF Suez said it’s too early to decide whether to expand a liquefied natural gas plant that processes output from their Snohvit field in the Barents Sea, the option preferred by operator Statoil ASA. (STL)

“We’re not there yet,” Martin Tiffen, head of Total’s Norway unit, said today in Stavanger. “It’s an option.”

Expanding the Hammerfest plant would be the “best solution economically,” rather than building a southbound pipeline, if the partners decide to double output at Snohvit, the first field developed in the Arctic Barents Sea, Statoil said in July.

“Neither, today, is like a slam dunk from an economical point of view,” Tiffen said in an interview. “It could be both. But these things take time.”

Statoil, Norway’s largest oil and gas producer, in April said it may increase Snohvit output to deplete reserves and free up capacity as it prepares to develop other Arctic discoveries.

GDF Suez (GSZ) thinks that several issues and alternative solutions still need to be studied and agreed before we can recommend how to best complete the development of Snohvit,” Ulf Rosenberg, a spokesman for GDF, said in an e-mailed statement.

Statoil has 36.8 percent of Snohvit, Petoro AS 30 percent, Total 18.4 percent, GDF 12 percent and RWE-DEA AG 2.8 percent.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mikael Holter in Oslo at mholter2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jonas Bergman at jbergman@bloomberg.net

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