Oil Leak on Draugen Larger than Expected

Investigations conducted by Sintef and Norske Shell conclude that the discharge of oil after the leak on the Draugen field on May 19 of this year was larger than first anticipated.

The leak was originally estimated at approximately 100 cubic meters (m3) of oil. New investigations have revealed that the leak amounted to 500 - 800 m3 of oil. The Draugen field is located in the Norwegian Sea, 145 kilometers west of Kristiansund.

The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate is investigating the oil leak together with the Norwegian Pollution Control Authority (SFT) and the Norwegian National Coastal Administration. A joint investigation report is expected in September. The authorities will then consider additional follow-up and potential actions to be taken.

The oil leak occurred during start-up of the Garn Vest subsea installation at 1700 hours on 19 May. The leak was discovered at approximately 2230 hours when the crew noticed an odor and observed oil on the sea around the installation. Oil production on Draugen was shut down shortly thereafter.

Efforts to recover the oil were instituted after the leak, and 180 m3 of oil was recovered during the days after the leak. It is assumed that a corresponding amount evaporated.

The coast along the relevant section of Mid-Norway has been monitored, and no oil has reached land. Observations made in the area have revealed no injuries to birds or fish.

Investigations made with underwater cameras showed a rupture in the connection between the Garn Vest manifold and the production line to the platform.

The Draugen leak on May 19 is the third largest oil discharge ever on the Norwegian shelf. The largest leak occurred on Ekofisk Bravo in connection with the blowout in April 1977 when approximately 12,700 m3 of crude oil was discharged during the course of the week the blowout lasted. In 1992, there was an oil discharge of 900 m3 on the Statfjord field as the result of a valve on a hose to a loading buoy inadvertently being left in the open position.

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