Equinor and its partners have submitted a development and operation (PDO) plan for the Irpa deep-water gas field in the Norwegian Sea.

The PDO for the Irpa gas discovery, which is formerly known as Asterix, has been submitted to the Norwegian Minister for Petroleum and Energy.

Equinor and its partners will invest approximately Nkr14.8bn ($1.45bn) in the project, which is expected to start production at the end of 2026.

Located 80km west of the Aasta Hansteen platform in the Norwegian Sea, the Irpa field is planned to be developed as a tie-in to Aasta Hansteen platform. The gas will then be exported to the Nyhamna gas processing plant via the Polarled pipeline.

The gas is then planned to be transported to customers in the UK and continental Europe via the Langeled pipeline system.

The Voring basin discovery is estimated to have recoverable gas resources of approximately 20 billion standard cubic metres.

Equinor senior vice-president for Exploration and Production North Grete Birgitte Haaland said: “The development shows that near-field exploration and utilisation of existing infrastructure provides good resource utilisation on the Norwegian continental shelf.

“Irpa will maintain existing jobs at Aasta Hansteen, at the supply base in Sandnessjøen, at the helicopter base in Brønnøysund, and at the operations centre in Harstad.”

The field is expected to ensure stable gas deliveries from the Aasta Hansteen platform until 2039.

Equinor projects, drilling and procurement executive vice-president Geir Tungesvik said: “This is a good day, the development of Irpa will contribute to predictable and long-term deliveries of gas to customers in the EU and the UK.”

Equinor owns an operatorship stake of 51% in the Irpa gas field while Wintershall Dea holds a 19% stake. Other partners include Petoro and Shell, holding 20% and 10% stakes, respectively.