Ineos shuts Forties crude oil pipeline following leak

Ineos has shut its 575,000-b/d Forties crude oil pipeline system. Last week during a routine inspection, Ineos contractors discovered a hairline crack in an onshore portion of the Forties system at Red Moss near Netherley, roughly 10 miles southwest of Aberdeen.

Ineos has shut its 575,000-b/d Forties crude oil pipeline system. Last week during a routine inspection, Ineos contractors discovered a hairline crack in an onshore portion of the Forties system at Red Moss near Netherley, roughly 10 miles southwest of Aberdeen. A repair and oil-spill response team was mobilized Dec. 6, after a very small amount of oil seepage was reported. Measures to contain the seepage were put in place, no oil has been detected entering the environment, and the pipe has been continuously monitored.

Ineos set up a 300-m perimeter around the leak site and a small number of residents were placed in temporary accommodation as a precautionary measure. Pipeline pressure was reduced while a full assessment of the situation was made.

Despite the reduction in pressure, the crack extended to 155 mm from 106 mm, leading to a Dec. 11 controlled shutdown of the pipeline to allow for development of a suitable repair method.

Ineos earlier this quarter completed its purchase of the Forties system and associated facilities in the UK North Sea from BP PLC (OGJ Online, Oct. 31, 2017). The system includes 235 miles of pipeline linking 85 North Sea oil and gas fields to the mainland.

Apache Corp. shut in production at its Forties field following the pipeline shutdown, helping push oil prices higher, Brent crude rising momentarily past $65/bbl for the first time since June 2015.

Contact Christopher E. Smith at chriss@ogjonline.com.

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