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Veslefrikk report ready

July 7, 2005, 15:00 CEST

Statoil's internal board of inquiry has completed its report on the damage to a lifeboat on the Veslefrikk field in the North Sea on 21 June.

The inquiry was launched after a fault was discovered during a test of one of the skid boats on the Veslefrikk B platform. No crew members were in the lifeboat during the test.

Statoil takes a serious view of this case and has initiated work to clarify whether this was an isolated fault on the one lifeboat, or a construction fault in this type of lifeboat. Tests carried out on the lifeboats on the Kristin platform have not revealed any similar faults to the one on Veslefrikk B.

Pending a clarification, Statoil is to initiate relevant measures on Kristin, Kvitebjørn and Visund which all have lifeboats similar to those on Veslefrikk B. For instance, a decision has been taken to requisition extra emergency response vessels for Kvitebjørn and Kristin.

Visund is not producing until September owing to planned alterations but will assess necessary measures immediately.

"This work takes top priority," says Tove Rørhus, vice president for health, safety and the environment in Exploration & Production Norway. "The safety of our personnel is paramount."

During planned maintenance work yesterday, 6 July, faults were found on two conventional lifeboat systems on Veslefrikk B. Production on Huldra and Veslefrikk has therefore been halted and the number of personnel has been reduced further. Production will not resume until the lifeboat systems have been repaired.

The board of inquiry's report was presented to the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway today, 7 July.