Statoil’s ‘limited’ oil leak to be probed by police, regulator

1/27/2014

Statoil’s ‘limited’ oil leak to be probed by police, regulator

BY MIKAEL HOLTER

STAVANGER, Norway (Bloomberg) -- Norway’s police and Petroleum Safety Authority will probe a leak at Statoil ASA’s North Sea Statfjord C oil platform that the company described as “limited.”

“We notify the police of serious incidents,” Eileen Brundtland, a spokeswoman for the authority, said by phone. “We always consider hydrocarbon leaks as serious.”

The watchdog investigated four events at Norwegian oil and gas sites in 2013, including at two Statoil platforms, she said. It today ordered the company to improve wells and processing plants at the North Sea Oseberg field center after a gas leak.

“Where we believe it’s relevant to look closer at causes, we investigate on an independent basis,” Brundtland said.

The Stavanger-based producer, the biggest Norwegian energy company, said as much as 32 cubic meters of processed crude leaked from the drainage system of Statfjord C last weekend.

The leak occurred below the lower deck in the night between Jan. 25 and Jan. 26. and Statoil has started an internal probe, spokesman Morten Eek said. “Statfjord C is shut and won’t be started again before we’ve had the system verified,” he said by phone. “We view an oil leak into the sea as serious.”

The other platforms on the Statfjord field are operating normally and Statfjord C should resume within days, Eek said.

The Statfjord, Statfjord East and Statfjord North fields produce about 80,000 barrels of oil a day through three platforms, according to Statoil’s website. The East and North fields are tied in to the C platform. Statoil declined to give production figures for the individual platforms.

In 2012, an oil and gas leak at BP Plc’s Ula field in the North Sea could have caused a deadly explosion, the authority said in April, ordering the company to review maintenance.

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