By Balazs Koranyi, Reuters
Norway has cut the time its biggest gas field will operate at a reduced capacity by several months after Statoil tested repairs on a faulty compressor, which kept output down during the peak winter months, gas system operator Gassco said.
All outages on the Troll field between now and June 1 have been cancelled while the expected outage between June 1 and July 1 will be shorter than predicted, Gassco said in market messages.
Norway is western Europe's biggest gas supplier and accounts for a fifth of the European Union's gas needs. The Troll failure kept gas output down during the winter months, pushing gas prices higher.
The field's output was seen down by up to 40 million cubic metres per day through June 1, or more than 10 percent of Norway's capacity, pushing up gas prices on some European markets during the heating season.
Statoil and Gassco could not immediately explain the changes in the outage schedule and could not comment on the outcome of the compressor test.
Even as Gassco cut the outage for the spring months, it raised the outage to 46 mcm per day between July 1 and Aug 26 from 40 mcm and also scheduled a maintenance involving 38 mcm on an unnamed field from Aug 26 to Sept 24.
Gassco has repeatedly modified its outage schedule on the Troll field since its compressor failed last year as Statoil raced to repair the facility to meet winter demand.
(Editing by William Hardy)