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Kvitebjørn and Heidrun shut down

February 9, 2006, 00:15 CET

Statoil has shut down production on the Kvitebjørn platform and is also to shut down production on the Heidrun platform to repair the flare knock-out drums. The group is doing this as a precautionary measure following the gas leak on the Visund platform on 19 January.

Statoil has reviewed all of its facilities to control the flare knock-out drums.

Even though Statoil's internal investigation into the gas leak on Visund in the North Sea is not finished, it can be concluded that the direct cause was a metal plate which came loose from the flare knock-out drum.

In a letter to the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway on 3 February, Statoil pointed out that the group has similar constructions on the Sleipner B and Kvitebjørn platforms in the North Sea, on Heidrun in the Norwegian Sea, and at the gas processing complex at Kollsnes near Bergen. A team of specialists at Statoil has made a detailed evaluation of the design of Heidrun and Kvitebjørn and concluded that the flare knock-out drums should also be repaired.

Production from Kvitebjørn was therefore stopped yesterday evening, 8 February, to remove the plates in the flare knock-out drums. This operation is expected to take a few days.

Production from Heidrun will also be shut down for a few days from the middle of next week to remove the plates in the flare knock-out drums.

The specialist team is now assessing whether it will be necessary to remove similar plates at Kollsnes and on the Sleipner B platform.

The shortfall in production from Kvitebjørn will be just over 20 million cubic metres of gas, and about 60,000 barrels of condensate per day.

For Heidrun, the shortfall will be just over 3 million cubic metres of gas and about 140,000 barrels of oil per day.

The shortfall in production has not affected Statoil's gas buyers.