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Shutdown after gas leak

August 14, 2001, 09:15 CEST

Operator Statoil is halting production on the Åsgard B platform and reducing output from the Åsgard A ship following a gas leak which occurred yesterday, 13 August.

The leakage arose in a gas flowline between the Åsgard A production ship and the Åsgard B platform in the Norwegian Sea.

Earlier this year, Statoil discovered 72 weak welds in hubs on the Åsgard field. Testing showed that the problem of weak welds was not as serious as first assumed and that only 24 of the 72 welds had to be repaired.

"The leak which has now occurred is in one of the flowlines that were previously given the all-clear, so we have decided to shut down production where we presumed earlier that there were no weaknesses," says Henrik Carlsen, executive vice president for Exploration & Production Norway.

He adds that operation of the Åsgard field will at all times be justifiable based on safety and environmental concerns, and that parts of the field will be closed until the cause of the leak is clarified.

The closure means that all gas and condensate exports from Åsgard B come to a halt.

Condensate production amounts to about 45,000 barrels per day while gas production will be dependent on customer nominations.

The aim is that the closure will not affect gas customers in continental Europe, so other fields will supply the required amounts.

Oil production on Åsgard A will be reduced from 165,000 barrels per day to 145,000 barrels per day as a result of the shutdown.

Ola Krumsvik head of Åsgard operations says that it is too early to say anything about the reason for the leakage, but it is expected that within 10-14 days, Statoil will have retrieved the flowline and inspected the leakage site.

In normal operations, the Åsgard gas is mixed with gas from other fields in the area before the gas volumes are sent through the Åsgard Transport trunkline to the treatment complex at Kårstø north of Stavanger. During the Åsgard shutdown, gas from the Norne field will be injected into the reservoir. The consequences for Heidrun gas which is sent to Kårstø are currently being assessed.