Production Halted on Asgard B Platform

Statoil is halting production on the Asgard B platform and reducing output from the Asgard A ship following a gas leak which occurred on August 13. The leakage arose in a gas flowline between the Asgard A production ship and the Asgard B platform in the Norwegian Sea. Earlier this year, Statoil discovered 72 weak welds in hubs on the Asgard field. Testing showed that the problem of weak welds was not as serious as first assumed and that only 24 of the 72 welds had to be repaired.

"The leak which has now occurred is in one of the flowlines that were previously given the all-clear, so we have decided to shut down production where we presumed earlier that there were no weaknesses," says Henrik Carlsen, executive vice president for Exploration & Production Norway. He adds that operation of the Asgard field will at all times be justifiable based on safety and environmental concerns, and that parts of the field will be closed until the cause of the leak is clarified.

The closure means that all gas and condensate exports from Asgard B come to a halt. Condensate production amounts to about 45,000 barrels per day while gas production will be dependent on customer nominations. The aim is that the closure will not affect gas customers in continental Europe, so other fields will supply the required amounts. Oil production on Asgard A will be reduced from 165,000 barrels per day to 145,000 barrels per day as a result of the shutdown. It is too early to determine the reason for the leakage, but it is expected that within 10-14 days, Statoil will have retrieved the flowline and inspected the leakage site.

In normal operations, the Asgard gas is mixed with gas from other fields in the area before the gas volumes are sent through the Asgard Transport trunkline to the treatment complex at Karsto north of Stavanger. During the Asgard shutdown, gas from the Norne field will be injected into the reservoir. The consequences for Heidrun gas which is sent to Karsto are currently being assessed.