TotalFinaElf To Shut Down Franklin Field

TotalFinaElf expects to shut down its Franklin natural gas and condensate field in the U.K. North Sea Wednesday evening to move a drilling rig. The rig, which is being moved from Franklin's sister platform Elgin, was originally scheduled to be relocated last week, but weather and other problems prevented it from being moved into the Franklin field, said company spokeswoman Jane Sterling.

The rig is now on standby and is undergoing checks that are expected to be completed late Tuesday, she said, adding that the company will then give a 24-hour notice period before taking Franklin offline and moving in the drilling rig. "We've put the drilling rig on standby and we're running trials and doing checks. The checks should be done by this evening (Tuesday), and then we'll give 24 hours notice to shut it down," Sterling said. "It's possible that (it will shut) tomorrow evening if the weather stays good." Sterling said she expects the Franklin field to remain shut for about 24 hours while the rig is moved.

Elgin and Franklin, operating at around full capacity, Monday had combined production of 132,000 barrels of condensate and 14.6 million cubic meters of natural gas.