Veslefrikk and Huldra shut down

July 26, 2005, 00:00 CEST

Production from the Huldra gas and Veslefrikk oil fields in the North Sea was shut down by operator Statoil on 23 July after the discovery of an internal crack in a conventional lifeboat system.

Located on the Veslefrikk A platform, this unit was immediately taken out of operation and staffing on the field reduced from 82 to 65.

The crack was discovered in connection with planned preventive maintenance on one of the conventional davit-launched systems on the A platform.

It is located between a steel girder and the glassfibre-reinforced plastic attachment of the lowering system at the forward end of the lifeboat.

Further inspection today, 25 July, has established that no cracking has occurred in the actual lifeboat hull.

Each of the two Veslefrikk A lifeboats can seat 58, while the two lifeboats on Veslefrikk B – which is connected by a bridge to the A platform – accommodate 65 apiece.

All four of these craft were moreover launched and tested two weeks ago.

“Safety comes first,” says Otto Øren, acting operations vice president for Huldra and Veslefrikk.

“We don’t want to prepare to resume production until the maintenance programme for both lifeboats on Veslefrikk A has been completed later this week.”

Veslefrikk produces about 30,000 barrels of oil per day, while daily output on Huldra – which is remotely operated from the other field – is roughly six million cubic metres of gas.