Clean Up Efforts Continue at Statfjord, Deploying Booms

An aircraft from the Norwegian National Coastal Administration is checking the extent of the oil slick the morning of Dec. 14, and booms will be positioned where the observed concentrations are largest. Aerial observations indicate that the slick is thin and bluish, and that only small areas of the oil have congealed into lumps.

Weather conditions on Statfjord improved somewhat during the night, with waves now just over three meters high and a fresh breeze blowing. Forecasts indicate a weather window lasting until the morning of Dec. 15, which will permit the use of clean-up equipment.

The oil has not drifted much since it leaked to the sea and is still in the area between the Statfjord and Snorre fields. Drift modeling shows a slight movement toward the east.

Norway's Sintef research foundation will be investigating the water column today from the Leikvin vessel, while the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (Nina) makes observations of bird life from a search and rescue helicopter. Similar observations were also made yesterday, without detecting any accumulation of seabirds in the area.

An inspection of the loading buoy and hose that were in use when the oil leak occurred on Statfjord is ongoing. Carried out by a remotely operated vessel (ROV) from the Edda Fonn survey vessel, this work has so far found a break in the 19-inch flexible hose between the seabed and the tanker connection.

Data from the inspection will be made available to the authorities and the StatoilHydro inquiry team, which is charged with identifying the chain of events and underlying causes.

StatoilHydro met the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) and the Norwegian Pollution Control Authority (SFT) Dec. 14 to account for the chain of events related to the oil leak from Statfjord A and the emergency response effort.

Statfjord is producing as normal. The group today also outlined the technical and operational verification being carried out before offshore loading can resume with the other OLSB system on the field.