Production shutdown on Visund

January 19, 2006, 09:40 CET

Production on the Statoil-operated Visund platform in the North Sea was shut down just after midnight on 19 January, after gas and fire detectors were activated on the platform. It has been visually confirmed that there were no flames.

The production facility was depressurised immediately, and the situation was normalised around 02.30.

Although the flame detectors were activated, it has been visually confirmed that there were no flames.

Statoil will appoint an inquiry team to investigate the cause of the incident and to find out why the flame detectors were activated.

There were 91 people on board, and personnel who did not have an emergency response role mustered at the lifeboats. The platform management also decided to transfer 17 people by helicopter to the Gullfaks A platform.

It is not yet clear what caused the incident.

A damaged pipe has been observed on the platform.

The weather is very bad and the platform management has decided that the visual control of the production facility will take place in daylight.

Since it has been difficult to make good observations in the area, it remains unclear whether there was any connection between the damaged pipe and the alarm sounding.

Oil and gas exports from the field have been stopped following the shutdown. Output from Visund represented about 35,000 barrels of oil and five million standard cubic metres of gas per day before the shutdown.

Production from Visund will resume when the management considers that justifiable.