Shell Says Brent Platforms Could Restart by End of Week

Shell said it could receive confirmation by the end of the week that its two North Sea Brent platforms, closed last month after an accident, have met UK Health and Safety Executive's conditions for reopening.

The Health and Safety Executive, which is investigating the accident caused by a gas release at Shell's Brent Bravo platform, served an enforcement notice prohibiting all production and processing at the Bravo and neighboring Brent Alpha platforms in mid-September.

Shell spokesman Phil Dyer said: "We're expecting to get a confirmation that we can restart at the end of the week." He said restarting the platforms would not take long after a confirmation is received and expected them to be operational within weeks.

Currently, only Brent Delta is operational out of four platforms in the field. The Brent Charlie platform is closed for maintenance work unrelated to the accident.

The four Brent fields normally produce around 35,000 barrels per day of oil, about 10 percent of the Brent crude stream, and 800 million cubic feet (22.65 million cu meters) per day of natural gas, according to UK government figures.

Brent is one of about 30 fields that feed into the Brent crude system, benchmark crude oil for European, Middle East and African oil trade.