Strike hits Statoil

April 30, 1999, 16:55 CEST

Veslefrikk as well as Gullfaks and its satellites look like being the Statoil fields hardest hit by an offshore strike.

Personnel working on cementing, coiled tubing and pumping operations for service company Dowell Schlumberger have downed tools over a pay dispute.

Statoil has applied to the strike leader at the contractor for permission to complete 10 days of work on securing the Veslefrikk wells before production is shut down in order to send the B platform to western Norway, reports field drilling supervisor Otto Øren.

The floating unit is due to be upgraded at the Aker Stord yard south of Bergen in order to accept and process oil and gas from the group's nearby Huldra development.

Statoil is concerned that a strike on Veslefrikk could have major safety and financial consequences, because wells with a high content of gas, oil and water need to be inhibited.

This involves pumping down chemicals to prevent the formation of hydrate (hydrocarbon ice) as well as scale and corrosion, which can be risky to remove later.

Any damage to the reservoir and associated costs will only become apparent when production resumes this autumn.

The strike promises to cause major problems on Gullfaks and its satellites because the drilling crew has been laid off. Production delays are costed at NOK 2.6 million per day from the main Gullfaks field and NOK 2 million per day from the satellites.