Statoil Working on Partial Restart of Snorre B Field in North Sea


OSLO, May 21 (Reuters) – Norwegian oil firm Statoil is working to resume partial production at its Snorre B platform in the North Sea although full production will not restart until a probe is conducted as to why the ground shifted under a seabed installation.

The incident, which has shut about half of the total Snorre field's production, or around 48,000 barrels of oil per day, began Saturday when the company evacuated about a quarter of the platform's personnel after detecting a soil shift under a drilling template.

The Snorre field, which has two platforms, is Norway's fourth-biggest oilfield and accounts for 1.5 percent of Statoil's total output.

Production was first shut on Saturday, then halted again on Monday when more problems were discovered during a restart attempt.

"Statoil has decided to keep production shut down until the necessary investigations have been carried out," the company said in a statement.

The Norwegian oil safety watchdog said it was monitoring the situation closely. It had classified the incident as a grade 4 on its safety scale, on which 5 is the most serious.

"We don't yet know the cause of this situation. Until we get that information, it is hard to say how severe it is," said Oeyvind Midttun, a spokesman for the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway.


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