Statoil also intends to use the production halt to review other critical systems on the gas floater. "We'll do the work in a way which has the smallest possible consequences for output," says Henrik Carlsen, executive vice president for Exploration & Production Norway. He emphasises that the improvements will not be carried out at the expense of safety and the environment. The goal is to ensure that the shutdown does not affect gas customers in continental Europe by drawing on other Norwegian fields to cover contractual volumes unavailable from Asgard.
Statoil has initiated efforts to secure such replacement gas supplies. The weaknesses now revealed have prompted a review of possible welding defects on other installations. Repairs to four welds on the Statfjord north flank in the North Sea are still under consideration by Statoil.
And test production from the group's Huldra platform, also in the North Sea, has been postponed for about 14 days.
This is because a welding method and material combination used at the top of the production tubing in three wells could involve the same weaknesses which have been identified on Asgard. Statoil will accordingly reassess these welds before the platform starts test production.
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