Norway’s StatoilHydro has shipped its first tanker of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the Snohvit field project, supplying gas in a cooled state from the Norwegian shelf for the first time.

The Arctic Princess ship left port at Melkoya near Hammerfest in northern Norway for the first time recently, heading to Southern Europe with 145,000 cubic metres of LNG on board.

Helge Lund, StatoilHydro’s chief executive, commented, “This is a historic milestone for the Snohvit project and StatoilHydro’s LNG focus. For the first time, we are supplying gas from the Norwegian continental shelf in a cooled state by ship. This gives us increased flexibility in marketing gas globally. Our plant at Melkoya is the first LNG production facility in Europe and will be a key component in StatoilHydro’s focus on LNG, which constitutes the fastest growing gas market in the world.”

The Snohvit field, the first gas field developed in the Barents Sea, was discovered 24 years ago, though production did not begin until August.

StatoilHydro’s Hammerfest LNG plant is still in its initial phase, with production beginning in September and until stable production begins in December, deliveries will vary from week to week.

At full production, tankers will leave port at Melkoya every 5-6 days and each ship will transport almost 150,000 cubic metres of LNG to customers worldwide.