BP: Valhall Oil Platform Restart Unlikely Before End-Aug

LONDON (Dow Jones Newswires), Aug. 9, 2011

BP said Tuesday production at the Valhall oil platform in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea, damaged in a July 13 fire, is unlikely to resume before the end of August, about two weeks later than originally planned.

The fire at the platform shut down around 60,000 barrels a day of Ekofisk crude output that feeds into global benchmark Brent. Oil production at the Valhall facility itself before the shutdown stood at 42,000 barrels a day.

"Production will be restarted when the necessary BP reviews and any required modifications have been completed," said BP spokesman Matt Taylor.

He said July 28 that damage to the Valhall platform, was modest and caused mostly by water used to extinguish the fire.

The Valhall platform shutdown comes on top of continuing unscheduled maintenance at the Nexen-operated Buzzard oil field, the largest of the 50 fields that contribute to Forties crude oil, the main component of Brent.

Also, the BP-operated Forties Pipeline System was closed last week for five-day planned maintenance, but it over-ran due to dense fog through much of the week, BP said.

"Forties Pipeline re-started on Friday evening in line with the plan and throughput volumes are increasing as more fields come back on line after their own maintenance programs," Taylor said Tuesday.

The Buzzard and Forties pipeline problems have led to nine cargoes of Forties crude being delayed in August, providing support for oil prices.

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