OSLO, Norway, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- Austrian energy company OMV announced its support for a final investment decision for the Aasta Hansteen natural gas field on Norway's continental shelf.
"We are committed to this project," Jaap Huijskes, an OMV board member in charge of exploration and production, said in a statement. "It is designed as a future hub and it will therefore unlock great potential in the region."
Field development entails the use of a 656-foot floating spar platform, which will be the largest of its kind and the first used in Norway. The platform has a storage capacity of 160,000 barrels.
Field operator Statoil this week submitted development plans for Aasta Hansteen, known formerly as the Luva field, to the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy. The company said the field development marks the first time natural gas exploration is planned for the deep waters of the Norwegian Sea.
The field is in about 4,200 feet of water on the Norwegian continental shelf.
Oystein Michelsen, executive vice president of development for Statoil, said in a statement the platform would lead to new discoveries in the area.
"The development may generate substantial ripple effects in the north," he said.
Production should begin in 2017.