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Bitter cold continues to chill oil output

February 6, 2001, 00:00 CET

Extreme cold temperatures in Norway continue to wreak havoc on several Hydro oil and gas installations. Last night oil production on the Snorre and Vigdis fields in the North Sea was cut to a minimum due to frost problems on Statoil's Statfjord A platform - to which Snorre and Vigdis send their production for processing.

The Snorre TLP (tension leg platform) and Vigdis subsea installation, which sends its production to Snorre, are now producing a collective 45,000 barrels per day (bpd) to Statoil's Gullfaks C platform instead of Statfjord A. Snorre and Vigdis normally produce an average collective total of 250,000 bpd (Snorre 170,000 bpd, and Vigdis 80,000 bpd).

Oil production on Hydro's Njord platform in the Norwegian Sea, which normally averages 75,000 bpd, is continuing to produce just 5,000 bpd. Its production was cut to 30,000 bpd on Saturday and down to 7,000 bpd on Sunday. The cold has knocked the installation's gas compressors out of action.

The Oseberg field center, which normally produces some 200,000 bpd, has been operating at about 50,000 bpd since the weekend due to frost problems. Output has been further reduced to just 30,000 bpd because the onshore Sture wet gas terminal is out of action.

On Troll B, production has also been reduced. Normal output is 195,000 bpd.

On Snorre, two drilling rigs remain out of action due to snow and ice. Routine checks are being carried out to ensure all safety systems are functioning effectively.

Hydro's gas transport is also impacted by the cold. Gas export from the Oseberg D unit via the Heimdal riser platform was shut down Sunday night because of problems operating valves on the the gas pipeline at Heimdal. The problem may be hydrate build-up. It is presently uncertain when gas exports - which normally run between 5-7 million cubic meters per day - will resume.