Weather cuts output

March 6, 2000, 16:00 CET

Bad North Sea weather and high waves made it necessary to reduce oil production from Statoil's Statfjord and Gullfaks fields on 5 March.

Stormy conditions over the past week have restricted offshore loading to short periods, and oil storage facilities on these fields will soon be full.

Accidents on Statfjord have also disabled two of the loading buoys. A hawser was pulled off the Statfjord B buoy on 23 February, while the loading hose for the A buoy came free on 5 March as shuttle tanker Ragnhild Knutsen was seeking to connect.

Both systems can be quickly repaired once the weather moderates and waves subside, while the Statfjord C buoy remains operative and able to handle output from all three platforms once conditions permit.

The maximum wave height in the North Sea off southern Norway earlier today, 6 March, was 13 metres.

Weather conditions are not expected to improve sufficiently to allow offshore loading from the two fields until early on 8 March. And fresh storms with high waves are forecast for later in the week.

Loading can only proceed when the significant wave height – the highest one-third of waves measured – falls below four-five metres.