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Norwegian oil and gas producer Statoil has started installing a subsea gas compression facility 200 kilometers off the coast of Norway.

A total of 22 modules will be installed and connected at a depth of 300 meters below the surface, making up two identical compressor trains weighing 1,500 tons each. The compression system, built by Norway's Aker Solutions, will be put in place this summer in the large subsea frame that was installed in 2013.

When completed, the facility will generate an extra 282 million barrels of oil equivalents from the Åsgard field in the Norwegian Sea, extending its life by 20 years.

Statoil believes that subsea processing, and gas compression in particular, is an important technology for developing fields in deep water and in exposed areas. What's more, using compression on the seabed, instead of on a platform, improves recovery rates, reduces CO2 emissions and is more energy efficient.

"The technology represents a quantum leap that can contribute to significant improvements both in the level of extraction and operational life of a number of gas fields," the company said.

Åsgard is one of the largest developments on the Norwegian continental shelf, with a total of 52 wells drilled through 16 seabed templates.

Gas from Åsgard is piped to the Kårstø processing complex, north of Stavanger. The heavier components, such as ethane, propane, butane and naphtha, are separated out at Kårstø and the dry gas is piped to continental Europe.

Gas compression on the seabed will increase extraction from the Mikkel and Midgard reservoirs of the Åsgard field.