Shell stops production from four North Sea platforms after accident

By Phaedra Friend Troy

According to a report from Bloomberg, Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE:RDS-A) (NYSE:RDS-B) has stopped production from its four Brent platforms in the UK North Sea after an accident.

Over the weekend, a 50-metric-ton bar fell from one of the platforms into the sea. The equipment was one of the fenders that protected the facility from visiting service vessels, said Reuters.

All non-essential personnel were evacuated from the Brent Bravo platform in the Northern North Sea following the accident.

The Brent Bravo platform is on Block 211/29 in waters measuring 141 meters deep. Achieving first production in November 1976, the Brent Bravo gravity-based platform is a manned facility that can drill and produce oil and gas, as well as meter, store and pump production.

Shell shut in the four interconnected Brent oil and gas platforms on Saturday in response to the accident. The Brent A, B, C and D platforms produce about 20,000 barrels of oil and 4.5 million cubic meters of gas a day.

The fenders on the Brent Bravo platform are being inspected, but a restart date for the facilities has not been revealed, reported Reuters.

Appropriate authorities have been informed about the incident.

Brent Field

Discovered in 1971, the Brent field is located in the UK Northern North Sea about 186 kilometers offshore Scotland in waters measuring 140 meters deep. The field development includes four production platforms: Alpha, Bravo, Charlie and Delta.

Brent achieved first oil production in 1975. Shell’s flagship field in the UK Continental Shelf, Brent serves as the benchmark for crude oil pricing around the world. After a redevelopment of the field in the 1990s, Brent began producing mostly natural gas.

As of 2008, the Brent field had produced some 2 billion barrels of oil and 5.7 trillion cubic feet of gas. As production continues from the field, pressure and production levels wane, and the field will eventually get to a point where it will no longer be commercially viable to continue operations.

The decommissioning process for Brent will be undertaken in a phased process, likely taking up to a decade to complete.



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