Gas Leak Halts Production at Norway Troll A Field

LONDON (Dow Jones Newswires), June 29, 2010

Production has been suspended at several Norwegian North Sea oil and gas facilities after a small gas leak at Statoil's Troll A field earlier Tuesday, the company said.

Prompt U.K natural gas prices soar higher in response.

Production has been halted at Norway's largest gas field, Troll A following the leak, in addition to flows from Kvitebjoern and Visund oil and gas fields. Output has also been reduced at sister Statoil fields Troll B and Troll C.

Statoil spokesman Gisle Johansen confirmed a gas leak was reported at Troll A at 0530 GMT and production had subsequently been shut-in.

The Troll A incident means gas hasn't flowed into the Kollsnes Gas Processing plant, which handles nearly 40% of total Norwegian gas exports. Prompt U.K. gas prices have gained ground on growing concern over tighter flows from the Norwegian Continental Shelf, say traders who pegged within-day gas at 45 pence a therm up from closer to 40 pence a therm in recent days, and gas for Wednesday at 44.50 pence a therm.

"We've still got pretty low NCS flows, so that's holding the price up a bit," said one trader. "The curve is coming off though, so I think that reflects that people think it's only short-term [problem]."

According to the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate's website, the Troll Field--including Troll B and Troll C--produced 28.7 billion cubic meters of gas in 2009 and 1.08 million meters of natural gas liquids. Visund produced 25,000 barrels a day of oil and 730 million cubic meters of gas, while Kvitebjoern produced 41,000 barrels a day of oil and 5.41 billion cubic meters of gas.

This latest technical glitch follows a temporary shutdown at the field in January also relating to a gas leak.

Johansen said there was no update on when production at the Gullfaks C field would be restarted. Gullfaks C remains offline after being shut May 20 due to unstable well pressure.

The Gullfaks field, operated by Statoil, has three platforms Gullfaks A, B, C. Gullfaks A and C receive and process oil and gas from Gullfaks Soer and Gimle. All three facilities are also involved in production and transport crude oil from Tordis, Vigdis and Visund fields.

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