Forties Pipeline System that carries the UK North Sea oil to the shore for processing will be shut down for weeks after a crack was recently discovered in the onshore section.
Ineos, which acquired the pipeline late in October, discovered the crack last week during a routine inspection Red Moss near Netherley, south of Aberdeen.
“A repair and oil spill response team was mobilised on Wednesday, December 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. A 300 metre cordon was set-up and a small number of local residents were placed in temporary accommodation as precautionary measure,” Ineos said on Monday.
The pipeline pressure was reduced while a full assessment of the situation was made.
“Despite reducing the pressure the crack has extended, and as a consequence the Incident Management Team has now decided that a controlled shutdown of the pipeline is the safest way to proceed,” the pipeline operator said, adding the shutdown would allow for a suitable repair method to be worked up based on the latest inspection data, while reducing the risk of injury to staff and the environment.
“As always, safety remains our top priority and local residents, FPS users and other stakeholders are all being kept fully informed of the situation as it develops,” Ineos said.
Serica cuts output guidance
The shutdown means that the offshore fields that use the pipeline will be unable to produce until the pipeline is back on.
Serica Energy, a London-listed oil and gas company, has reduced its yearly output guidance as its only producing field, the Erskine, uses the FPS as the export route for Erskine condensate.
The company has been informed by the operator of the Erskine field that the Forties Pipeline System (“FPS”) will be unavailable, potentially for some weeks, while the FPS owner plans and implements repairs to a hairline crack in the onshore section of the pipeline.
“During this period the Erskine field, along with the other fields that use the pipeline, which include the BKR Assets1, will be unable to produce. This will impact Serica’s production guidance for the year to 31 December 2017, which has been revised to approximately 2,000 boe per day net to Serica from the Erskine field,” Serica, a partner in the field, said.
The Erskine Field lies approximately 241 km east of Aberdeen, Scotland, in the Central North Sea, in water depths of about 90 meters. Discovered in 1981 in Block 23/26, Erskine is a gas condensate field. It was the first high-pressure, high-temperature field to be developed in the U.K. Continental Shelf. First production was achieved in November 1997.
The field includes a normally unattended installation and is remotely controlled from Chrysaor’s Lomond platform. A 30 km pipeline links the two facilities.
Commenting on the announcement that the Forties Pipeline System will be shut down to repair the crack, Deirdre Michie, Chief Executive of Oil & Gas UK, said: “We have been in touch with Ineos and are closely monitoring the situation and hope this can be resolved safely and as quickly as possible.”