StatoilHydro Shuts Veslefrikk Oil Platform Because of North Sea Storm

OSLO, Jan 4, 2008 (Dow Jones Newswires)

Norwegian state-controlled oil company StatoilHydro ASA on Friday shut down production from its 35,000 barrel-a-day Veslefrikk oil field and reduced staffing at two other fields due to a North Sea storm with strong winds and huge waves.

StatoilHydro spokesman Gisle Johanson said it was not clear how long the production and staff cuts might last, but that the strong winds could linger through the weekend. He said crew had been cut to a minimum at the three fields, with staff reduced to 21 from 165 at the Veslefrikk field; to 51 from 93 at the Oseberg Soer platform and to 54 from 120 at the Visund field. He said nonessential crew had been flown to land or to other platforms that were less exposed to the waves.

Winds in the area were gusting to over 45 miles an hour, and waves were reaching more than 30 feet, meteorologists said. Johanson said that was over the parameters set for normal platform operations, especially for some lifeboats needed to evacuate crew in an emergency.

He said production from Oseberg Soer and Visund continued as normal.

OSLO, Jan 4, 2008 (Dow Jones Newswires)