Snøhvit will be the first major development on the Norwegian continental shelf without a fixed or floating unit. Instead, a subsea production system on the seabed will feed a land-based plant on the north-western coast of Melkøya, at the entrance to the shipping channel into Hammerfest via a 68cm ID, 160km gas pipeline. In addition come two chemical lines, an umbilical and a separate pipeline for transporting carbon dioxide, which will be laid in the summer of 2005.
Both the subsea production system located on the field and pipeline transport will be monitored and controlled from a control room at Melkøya, where operators will be able to open and close valves on the seabed 140km away with signals transmitted along fibre-optic cables, and with high-voltage electrical and hydraulic power lines.
The unprocessed wellstream arriving at Melkøya is separated and the gas cooled down to liquid form and exported. Gas from the Snøhvit area contains 5% to 8% carbon dioxide, which will be separated out at the land plant and returned in a separate line for storage underground beneath the seabed.