In an unprecedented feat of engineering for the Polarled project the first pipeline crossing the Arctic Circle was laid this past week by a consortium of Statoil - led companies.
The 482 km long 36 inch wide pipeline will run from Nyhamna in western Norway to the Aasta Hansteen field, creating a new "gas highway" from the Norwegian Sea to Europe.
The world’s largest pipelaying vessel, Solitaire from Allseas, is carrying out the job and is advancing slowly, exactly 24.4 metres at a time, every sixth minute or so, working around the clock.
"We are progressing well at the moment, conditions have been good for more than 50 days in a row, and at the end of July we set a record of laying 4.8 kilometres of pipes in one day,” says Kenneth Aksel Kristensen, one of Statoil’s company representatives on board the vessel.
Pipeline installation is taking place at water depths reaching 1265 meters and this is the first time a 36-inch wide pipe is laid in such deep waters anywhere in the world.
Polarled is expected to begin shipping gas to Europe this autumn.
Update 27 August 2015:
We regret an error in yesterday's story of the Polarled project. A number of our readers have correctly pointed out that the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline, which went into operation in 1977, was the first pipeline to cross the Arctic Circle. We now added "European" into the title.