Drilling derrick shifted

January 30, 2000, 16:00 CET

Nobody was injured when the drilling derrick on Statoil's Sleipner A platform in the North Sea shifted out of position on the afternoon of 29 January.

Material damage was also slight from the incident, which occurred around 16.30 when high winds were blowing in the area.

The derrick, which weighs close to 1,000 tonnes, was caught by a gust and moved about a metre eastwards on the skid used to move it between slots.

Drilling was under way when the crew noticed that the string had been displaced to the side. Work ceased immediately, and the derrick was secured before damage checks were made with the equipment.

"One riser and the foundation of a pipe-handling machine have been bent, but the material damage was not great," says Kyrre Nese, vice president for Sleipner operations.

Drilling has been suspended until repair work is completed. Production will continue as normal.

An internal inquiry team is working to establish what happened.

The incident represents the first reported occasion that a drilling derrick has shifted during drilling, according to Mr Nese.