A landmark North Sea deal to supply Norwegian gas to the UK will safeguard more than 500 Scottish jobs, it has been announced.
The deal will supply gas for homes and businesses
Shell UK and Esso Exploration and Production have signed agreements with Statoil, Norske Shell and Esso Exploration and Production Norge, for the export of wet gas.
Wet gas contains dry gas suitable to power homes and business and natural gas liquids, which are used in the chemicals industry.
The agreements, lasting more than 10 years, begin in 2007 and will secure employment at the St Fergus gas terminal in Aberdeenshire and the Mossmorran Natural Gas Liquids plant in Mossmorran, Fife.
The gas will be landed at the St Fergus terminal where it will be processed to extract gas liquids and to produce sales quality gas for the UK.
The natural gas liquids will be transported to the Mossmorran plant and liquefied petroleum gas will then be exported through the Braefoot Bay marine terminal.
Tom Botts, chief executive of Shell Exploration and Production in Europe, said the deal would help safeguard the UK's energy supplies.
"I believe this is the first of many future cross-border solutions arising out of increased co-operation between the UK and Norway," he added.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown, who is also an MP in Fife, said: "Securing more than 450 jobs here in our local community at Mossmorran, in addition to 120 jobs at St Fergus, will bring huge benefits to Fife, to Scotland, and to the UK as a whole.
"It shows how successful we can be when we work together."