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Rig inquiry

December 8, 1998, 08:00 CET

A serious incident on Deep Sea Trym near the Gullfaks field in the North Sea last Friday is being investigated by Statoil.

Production testing/well cleaning was under way with the second oil producer on the Rimfaks satellite from the Statoil-operated rig when a valve was ripped loose by a pipe. Liquid flowed out for a couple of minutes before the well automatically shut in.

A preliminary damage report will first be ready by Friday, reports Øyvind Reinertsen, vice president for Gullfaks operations. It is therefore too early to say anything about the cause of the incident, which Mr Reinertsen characterises as extremely serious.

Nobody was on the drill floor when the accident occurred, and no injuries were suffered. However, considerable damage was done to the derrick and the rig's structure was subjected to loads close to its design limit. It will probably need to be taken ashore for repairs.

The alarm was sounded immediately, and Mr Reinertsen says emergency response arrangements functioned very well.

Representatives from the Norwegian police and the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate flew to the rig on Saturday with members of Statoil's inquiry team.