Norwegian oil and gas company Statoil has started laying a gas pipeline that will connect the Nyhamna processing plant to the Aasta Hansteen field in the Norwegian Sea.

The 300-mile long Polarled pipeline is the first pipeline of its kind to be laid in waters of up to 4,150 feet deep and is also the first to take Norwegian gas infrastructure across the Arctic Circle.

As such, there are high hopes that it will lead to further production in the region.

"The new pipeline will open a new gas province and stimulate exploration and resource development, which will fortify Statoil's position as an exporter of gas to Europe," commented Jan Heiberg, acting head of the pipelines and processing unit of MPR asset management.

Provisions have already been made for additional connections to the pipeline.

"When the pipeline is laid, we will install an end manifold with connection points for Aasta Hansteen and any future fields. Six T-joints on the pipeline for any further connections are also a unique feature of Polarled," said project manager Alfred Øijord.

Statoil is operator during the development of the Polarled project and is responsible for laying the pipeline between Aasta Hansteen and Nyhamna. Shell, as operator of the Nyhamna processing plant, is responsible for preparing the plant for gas reception.

The pipeline is already connected to Nyhamna and the pipe-laying operation is scheduled to be completed by the end of August 2015. The processing plant will be ready to receive Aasta Hansteen gas in 2017. When the pipeline comes on stream, Gassco will be operator for the pipeline and for the Nyhamna plant, Statoil said.