Huldra well sealed after gas inflow

The first of four production wells spudded in Statoil's Huldra field in the Norwegian North Sea had to be rapidly sealed today as gas began flowing in as completion work was being carried out aboard the Mærsk Gallant drilling rig. The well had been drilled to a depth of 4,860 m when the inflow happened, raising downhole pressure and activating the blowout preventer on the drillfloor.


LONDON�The first of four production wells spudded at Statoil's Huldra field in the Norwegian North Sea had to be rapidly sealed today as gas began flowing in as completion was being carried out work aboard the Mærsk Gallant drilling rig.

The well had been drilled to a depth of 4,860 m when the inflow happened, raising downhole pressure and activating the blowout preventer on the drillfloor.

Statoil emergency response leader Øivind Reinertsen said personnel not required for further operations were being flown 16 km to the Veslefrikk platform as a "precaution" and operations were underway to stabilize the well.

The six-well drilling program was originally scheduled to last until the first quarter of 2002, with the first producer expected on stream next October.

Huldra, a high pressure, high temperature field located in 125 m of water, is estimated to contain some 20 billion cu m of gas and 47 million bbl of condensate.

The field is being developed at a cost of some 5.6 billion kroner via an unmanned wellhead platform tied back to the nearby Veslefrikk installation, to which condensate production will be piped for processing and onward export. Gas is to be transported 140 km to Norsk Hydro's Heimdal platform for processing and transmission on to continental Europe.

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