WWI mine removed safely from BP Forties Pipeline in the UK North Sea

By Phaedra Friend Troy

BP (NYSE:BP) has successfully removed the World War II bomb that was discovered nearby the Forties Pipeline System in the UK North Sea.

On March 22, BP discovered an unidentified object 10 feet from the Forties Pipeline, about 40 kilometers offshore Peterhead, UK. The 13-foot-long object was later identified by specialists as a WWII bomb.

BP worked with bomb disposal and subsea experts to develop a plan to remove the bomb, which was approved by appropriate regulatory agencies.
As a precaution, BP placed a guard vessel in the area to ensure that other vessels cleared the immediate area.
On Aug. 1, 2011, BP began a planned five-day shut-down to remove the mine lying next to the pipeline. The operator is also taking the down-time to perform maintenance on the pipeline

"BP confirms that the ordnance that had been lying next to the main Forties pipeline, 40km off the coast of Peterhead, has been successfully removed and towed 4k kilometers to a safe area, in preparation for disposal,” BP said in a statement. “The maintenance work on the pipeline system is ongoing and proceeding according to plan." 

Up to the shut-down, the Forties Pipeline System was moving an average of 500,000 barrels of oil a day. All producers have been kept informed of the situation and were well aware of the planned shut-down.

Due to surveys and inspections required, subsea pipelines have a knack for discovering long-lost history.

In 2010, the Nord Stream Consortium discovered 12 shipwrecks in the Baltic Sea while performing subsea surveys to map the pipeline route. Most of the shipwrecks date back to the 18th and 19th centuries, but one is believed to be as old as the Middle Ages. Nord Stream ammended its pipeline route to avoid the shipwrecks.

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