North Sea Cormorant platform incident shuts down Brent pipeline system

Abu Dhabi National Energy Co. (TAQA) shut down Cormorant Alpha platform in the northern UK North Sea and the Brent System pipeline infrastructure extending through the platform as a precaution following a hydrocarbon release into one platform leg.

There was no hydrocarbon release into the environment, TAQA said. It evacuated 92 noncore personnel following detection of a hydrocarbon release Jan. 15.

Cormorant Alpha platform handles about 90,000 b/d of crude oil feeding the Brent system pipeline, including 10,000 b/d from Cormorant field.

TAQA Bratani Ltd. operates Cormorant Alpha, which is 232 miles from Peterhead, Scotland. The Brent system transports crude oil from more than 20 North Sea fields to an export terminal at Sullom Voe in the Shetlands Islands.

BP PLC operates the Sullom Voe terminal. TAQA Bratani operates the Brent system pipeline.

“Investigations into the exact source of the hydrocarbons are still under way,” TAQA said Jan. 16. “Measurements within the leg show that the volume released is small.”

TAQA evaluated plans to restore throughput of 80,000 b/d in the Brent system pipeline, excluding any Cormorant Alpha production. Meanwhile, 67 workers remain on the platform along with three specialists brought aboard to resolve the incident. Cormorant Alpha is on Block 211/26a.

Shell UK Exploration & Production operated the Brent System pipeline until 2009, marking a change in management for the first time in almost 30 years (OGJ Online, Aug. 4, 2009).

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