Norway began to pump natural gas from the third stage of its offshore Troll field on Aug. 27—a project that will extend the deposit's producing lifetime beyond 2050, operator Equinor announced on Aug. 30. Deemed as "one of the most profitable projects' by Equinor, recoverable volumes from Troll phase 3 are estimated at 347 Bcm of gas or 2.2 billion barrels of oil equivalent.

The Troll phase 3 project consists of eight wells in two templates, a new pipeline and umbilical connecting the templates to Troll A as well as a new gas processing module on the platform. The project has a break-even price below $10 and COemissions of less than 0.1 kg per Boe, the company said.

Norway is western Europe's biggest producer of oil and natural gas, covering around 22% of the European Union's annual consumption. Troll is its largest gas field, supplying around 8% of European Union needs, according to Equinor. The Troll field's initial gas output came on stream in 1995, followed soon after by a parallel oil-production stage.

Annual revenue for the Norwegian government from the latest development is expected to average more than 17 billion Norwegian crowns, Equinor said.

“Troll phase 3 is one of the most profitable projects throughout Equinor’s entire history, while at the same time featuring production with record-low CO2 emissions," Arne Sigve Nylund, executive vice president of Projects, Drilling and Procurement, said in a press release. "This is thanks to large gas reserves and a development solution mostly based on existing infrastructure, such as pipelines, the processing plant at Kollsnes and, not least, the Troll A platform which receives power from shore."

The project had been due for start up in the second quarter of 2021, but Equinor said it has been hit by delays from pandemic-related labor shortages and infection control measures.

Equinor holds a 30.58% stake in the field, state energy firm Petoro 56%, Royal Dutch Shell 8.10%, TotalEnergies 3.69% and ConocoPhillips 1.62%.