StatoilHydro's Oseberg South Shutting In On Storms

StatoilHydro ASA (STO) said it began a shutdown at its Oseberg South field Friday morning because of storms in the area, but expects the worst weather to pass over during the afternoon and may start the field back up in the evening.

Company spokesman Gisle Johansen said the Oseberg South facility is shutting in completely. Figures from the Norwegian Petroleum directorate indicate Oseberg South produced 54,000 barrels of oil a day in 2007, and 0.77 billion cubic meters of gas in total, which was reinjected in the field to boost reservoir pressure and oil recovery.

StatoilHydro said Jan. 24 it had reduced personnel on a number of platforms in the North Sea as part of established procedures for an interim period to address a shortage of lifeboat capacity. At that time it said it did not expect there to be any production consequences.

Waves of up to 14 meters are expected during the storm, increasing the distance a lifeboat falls from the platform topside to the sea. The findings of a comprehensive survey of Norwegian lifeboat safety ascertained in 2007 that certain wave heights would cause G-force related injury to passengers when lifeboats were deployed.

BP (BP.LN) and ConocoPhillips (COP) said Jan. 24 that it's Norwegian North Sea installations Valhall and Ekofisk which are subject to subsidence, will not be affected by the storms.

StatoilHydro is operator of Oseberg South with an around 50% stake, ExxonMobil (XOM) owns 4.7%, ConocoPhillips 2.4%, Total (TOT) 10% and Petoro 33.6%. Oil is transported from the field to Oseberg Field Center, and after processing is routed to the Sture terminal.

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