Safety concern halts Snøhvit production in Barents Sea

Statoil has had to deal with two potential emergencies this week on its installations on the Norwegian continental shelf.

On Wednesday afternoon, a controlled production shut down had to be implemented at the LNG plant on Melkøya Island near Hammerfest, northern Norway, which receives gas from the gas from the Snøhvit field in the Barents Sea. This followed a rupture in a fire water line, part of the plant’s safety system, despite an inspection of the equipment earlier that day.

A water leakage at the rupture site excavated some of the soil at the site of the leak.

“We are working to clarify the cause of the water leakage and preparing the repair work, so that we can resume production quickly,” said Øivind Nilsen, production director for Hammerfest LNG.

Production from Snøhvit will remain suspended until the safety systems are back in operation. Statoil’s share of production from Snøhvit is 48,000 boe/d.

Thursday afternoon a scheduled helicopter en route from the Deepsea Bergen semisubmersible drilling rig to Kristiansund had to make a controlled emergency landing on Åsgard B.

The helicopter alarm system had alerted the pilots of a loss of pressure in the left hydraulic system.

After the landing, the helicopter encountered lack of braking power on the wheels, but was gradually stabilized.

The passengers were evacuated through the emergency exit, but there were no injuries to the 19 passengers and two crew members. Those affected have been taken care of and accommodated on Åsgard B.

Two technicians are now examining the helicopter to make it ready to re-start service.

Statoil’s emergency preparedness organisation on Åsgard B and onshore was mobilized in connection with the incident.

Both CHC, the operator of the Eurocopter EC225 helicopter, and Statoil will undertake investigations.


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