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Statoil Uncertain When Troll C Can Resume Production

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OSLO - Norwegian oil and gas producer Statoil ASA said it didn't know when production could resume at its Troll C gas platform in the North Sea, which was shut down earlier Thursday due to corrosion in a gas-treatment system.

The affected platform, one of three in the Troll field, produces around 120,000 barrels of oil and 10.5 million cubic meters of gas a day, Statoil said.

Troll is one of Norway's most important oil and gas fields, producing 568,450 barrels of oil equivalent a day in 2011, or about 15% of Norway's total production of 3.8 million barrels a day.

The corrosion on a tank in the glycol system, an auxiliary system for treating gas, was discovered during a scheduled inspection on the platform. Production has been stopped temporarily for investigations to be carried out.

A similar tank in a parallel gas-treatment system is also being checked, the company said.

Statoil didn't know when production could restart. It chose to shut down production while the second tank was investigated, and will make a decision following the inspection.

At least one tank is needed for production to continue, said Statoil spokesman Ole Anders Skauby.

"Corrosion under the insulation is a known issue, especially in older equipment," he said.

The shutdown comes just a week after Statoil evacuated 336 workers from a floating hotel at the Njord Field in the Norwegian Sea due to a leak in a ballast tank.

But there is "nothing dramatic" in the situation at Troll C that would require immediate responses like last week's evacuation, Mr. Skauby said, although there was a small danger of a leak if corrosion had punched through a tank.

Statoil has a 30.58% stake in the Troll field, while Petoro AS has a 56% stake, AS Norske Shell an 8.1% stake, Total E&P Norge AS a 3.7% stake and ConocoPhilips Skandinavia AS a 1.6% stake.

The Fram license, which is connected to Troll C, owns 50,000 barrels a day of the oil production and 2 million cubic meters a day of its gas production, Statoil said.

Statoil has a 45% stake in the Fram license, while ExxonMobil Exploration & Production Norway AS has a 25% stake, Idemitsu Petroleum Norge AS a 15% stake and GDF Suez E&P Norge AS a 15% stake.

Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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