Equinor has announced that it began production from the Snorre expansion project in the Norwegian part of the North Sea.

The costs associated with the Snorre expansion project are valued at Nkr19bn ($2.15bn).

Equinor said that the expansion project is estimated to add nearly 200 million barrels of recoverable oil reserves, thereby extending the production life of the field until 2040.

The expansion project was originally scheduled to become operational in the first quarter of next year.

Equinor Technology, Projects and Drilling executive vice-president Geir Tungesvik said: “I am proud that we have managed to achieve safe start-up of the Snorre Expansion Project ahead of schedule in such a challenging year as 2020.

“In addition, the project is set to be delivered more than Nkr1bn below the cost estimate in the plan for development and operation (PDO).”

Snorre is an oil and gas field in the Tampen area in the southern part of the Norwegian Sea. It was discovered in 1979 and has been producing since August 1992.

The Snorre expansion (SEP) project is a proposed expansion of the Snorre field in blocks 34/4 and 34/7 of the Tampen area, approximately 200km west of Florø in the Norwegian North Sea.

Equinor operates and owns a 33.27% stake in the Snorre field. Other partners include Petoro (30%), Vår Energi (18.55%), Idemitsu Petroleum (9.6 %) and Wintershall Dea (8.57%).

Equinor development and production Norway executive vice-president Arne Sigve Nylund said: “This is a result of excellent teamwork, both internally with own employees and safety delegates, and with our suppliers and partners.

“In a very unusual year many have gone to great lengths, been constructive and solution-oriented to ensure that the project was delivered.”

Last month, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) gave consent to Equinor and its partners to proceed with work on the Snorre field expansion.