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Equinor (EQNR) and Partners to Invest $1.1B in Troll Gas Expansion

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Equinor ASA (EQNR - Free Report) , the Norwegian state-owned energy giant, has announced a significant investment exceeding $1 billion to enhance gas production infrastructure at the Troll field, one of the largest oil and natural gas fields in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea. This ambitious project aims to reinforce Europe’s energy security by ensuring high levels of gas export.

Expanding the Troll Field Infrastructure

The Troll field, a foundation of Norway's energy production, has been developed in multiple phases. Phase 1 focused on the Troll East gas resources, leading to the establishment of the Troll A platform and the Kollsnes gas plant, with gas exported to Europe via the Zeepipe pipelines. Phase 2 targeted the Troll West oil resources, resulting in the Troll B and C platforms and their associated infrastructure. The first part of Phase 3 began producing gas from the gas cap overlying the oil column in Troll West.

New Investments and Developments

Equinor, in partnership with Gassco and Norwegian authorities, plans to invest more than NOK 12 billion (approximately $1.13 billion) to further develop the Troll West gas area. This investment is expected to support eight new wells from two new templates, subsea control extensions from existing templates, and a new gas flowline to the Troll A platform. The project, known as Troll Phase 3 (TP3 II), aims to accelerate reservoir production and maintain high gas export levels through 2030.

Kjetil Hove, Equinor’s executive vice president for Exploration and Production Norway, highlighted the importance of the project. He noted that it will help enable Troll and Kollsnes to maintain their crucial role in ensuring the Norwegian Continental Shelf’s support for European energy security, especially in difficult times. He also mentioned that the gas from Troll alone supplies approximately 10% of Europe's demand.

Enhancing Production and Infrastructure

The new development is expected to produce around 55 billion standard cubic meters of gas, with an annual peak contribution of approximately 7 billion standard cubic meters. Recent upgrades at the Kollsnes processing plant have increased the maximum production capacity from Troll to 129 million standard cubic meters of gas per day. The new infrastructure should further boost this output by an additional 20 million standard cubic meters of gas per day.

The first stage of gas production from the Troll West gas asset, initiated in 2021, extended plateau production by five to seven years. The second stage aims to extend it further by around four years and mitigate production decline over the next decade.

Contracts and Partnerships

Several contracts have been awarded for the TP3 II project. OneSubsea secured the front-end engineering and design contract, with an option for detailed engineering, procurement and construction of subsea production systems, including umbilicals.

The pipelaying contract for the 36-inch gas pipeline was awarded to Allseas, while Odfjell Drilling’s Deepsea Aberdeen rig will drill eight production wells on the Troll field. These drilling activities are scheduled to commence in late 2025 or early 2026, with an estimated cost of NOK 1.3 billion ($122.9 million).

Sustaining Europe's Energy Supply

The Troll field partners — Equinor Energy (30.58%, operator), Petoro (56%), Norske Shell (8.10%), TotalEnergies EP Norge (3.69%), and ConocoPhillips Skandinavia (1.62%) — continue to emphasize the field's vital role in Europe's energy landscape. With substantial reserves still untapped, Troll is Norway’s largest gas producer, with an annual export volume that's equal to around 10% of gas consumption in Europe.

Equinor's continued investment in the Troll field highlights its commitment to bolstering Europe’s energy security and sustaining long-term gas production.

Zacks Rank & Key Picks

Equinor currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Some better-ranked players in the energy sector are Marathon Petroleum Corporation (MPC - Free Report) , SM Energy Company (SM - Free Report) and Sunoco LP (SUN - Free Report) . While Marathon Petroleum currently sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), SM Energy and Sunoco carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) each. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Marathon Petroleum's acquisition of Andeavor has expanded its foothold in the Permian Basin, creating an enviable retail and marketing portfolio. MPC’s emphasis on operational excellence, safety and environmental responsibility, coupled with investments in low-carbon initiatives, positions it well for sustainable growth and continued value creation for shareholders. 

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for MPC’s 2024 EPS is pegged at $19.28. The company has a Zacks Style Score of A for Value. It has witnessed downward earnings estimate revisions for 2024 in the past 30 days.

SM Energy is set to expand its oil-centered operations in the coming years, with an increasing focus on crude oil, especially in the Permian Basin and Eagle Ford regions. The company’s attractive oil and gas investments should create long-term value for shareholders.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for SM’s 2024 EPS is pegged at $6.63. The company has a Zacks Style Score of A for Value. It has witnessed upward earnings estimate revisions for 2024 in the past seven days.

Sunoco is a leading wholesale motor fuel distributor in the United States, boasting a vast distribution network spanning 40 states. With long-term contracts servicing more than 10,000 convenience stores, it distributes over 10 fuel brands, ensuring a stable revenue stream. SUN currently has a Value Score of A.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2024 and 2025 earnings per unit is pegged at $5.07 and $4.47, respectively. The partnership has witnessed upward earnings estimate revisions for 2024 and 2025 in the past 60 days.

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