Norway to raise oil production?

With crude oil prices trading above $32/bbl, the Norwegian government has indicated that it will decide 'in the coming days' whether or not to scrap its current curb on oil output, reports the OPEC News Agency. Oil production of about 280,000 b/d remained idle Thursday at Snorre and Vigdis fields, said Norsk Hydro AS.


BRUSSELS�With crude oil prices trading above $32/bbl, the Norwegian government has indicated that it will decide "in the coming days" whether or not to scrap its current curb on oil output, reports the OPEC News Agency.

Norway is the second-largest oil exporter after Saudi Arabia, exporting about 3.2 million b/d of oil. In recent weeks, the country's oil sector has been plagued by a series of strikes and weather damage, calling into question its ability to boost output quickly, even if a decision to do so is reached.

A labor dispute prompted a cut in oil production June 10-11, following the closure of the 225,000 b/d Draugen platform operated by Norske Shell, a unit of the Royal/Dutch Shell Group. In May, the country's oil sector was hit by the worst strike since the 1980s, and an oil rig operated by Norsk Hydro AS was cut adrift during high winds Tuesday in the North Sea, leading to the suspension of 280,000 b/d of production from two fields.

Norsk Hydro said inspection of the damaged anchors on the drilling rig Bideford Dolphin began Wednesay night with a remotely operated vechicle. Most crew members were evacuated in high winds Tuesday. Some of the personnel returned to the rig from the Gullfaks A platform, while others were demobilized and transported to Bergen.

Oil production of about 280,000 b/d remained idle Thursday at Snorre and Vigdis fields, Norsk Hydro said. On Tuesday, most of the personnel on board were evacuated after three out of eight anchors broke loose in storm conditions and high waves. The fear was that the rig would start drifting. A crew of 26 remained on board for safety reasons.

The weather picture calmed on Wednesday and the situation was stabilized, according to the company. Bideford Dolphin had already stopped drilling on the Vidis field due to the storm when the incident occurred. The Vigdis field is located on Block 34/7 in the Tampen region about 210 km northwest of Bergen and 7 km southwest of Snorre field.

In addition, Hydro said it has established a team of internal and external experts to investigate the incident and recommend action to prevent future occurrences.

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