Statoil stops gas leak at North Sea Visund field

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Apr. 11
-- Statoil stopped a gas leak at Visund field in the Norwegian North Sea where production had been shut down for inspections on Visund platform’s flexible risers. The Norwegian company said an investigation is under way on what caused the leak.

The inspections started Apr. 8 because some Visund risers are similar to those used on Njord field, where production was stopped on Apr. 1. Statoil reported some damage to the inner layer of steel that protects the pressure barrier in some Njord flexible risers. The damage was found during a scheduled inspection.

On Apr. 9, Statoil workers observed gas on the sea’s surface near the Visund platform, and the emergency preparedness organization was mobilized. The gas leaked from a riser that was closed for inspection.

Statoil stopped the Visund leak. There were no injuries, and personnel who had no emergency duties temporarily were evacuated. Statoil described the volume of the leak as “limited” but gave no specifics.

“Once the source was identified and the leak halted, evacuated personnel were returned to the platform,” Statoil said. “However, production remains shut down awaiting further inspection of the risers.”

Statoil is investigating the incident and is cooperating with Norway’s Petroleum Safety Authority. The PSA previously asked Statoil for an explanation regarding a gas leak from the Gullfaks B platform on Dec, 4, 2010, and PSA asked Statoil to assess what measures it might consider necessary (OGJ, Apr. 4, 2011, Newsletter).

“Safety is our first priority, and through our investigation, we wish to secure further knowledge to avoid this type of incident in the future,” said Oystein Michelsen, Statoil executive vice-president for development and production Norway.

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