Nexen pulls the plug on two North Sea platforms after Forties shutdown

Oil company Nexen, a subsidiary of Chinese state company CNOOC, has temporarily ceased production from the Buzzard and Scott platforms in the North Sea, following the shutdown of the Forties Pipeline System.

Offshore Energy Today reported on Tuesday that the Forties Pipeline System (FPS) that carries the UK North Sea oil to the shore for processing would 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 in Red Moss near Netherley, south of Aberdeen.

The shutdown means that the offshore fields that use the pipeline will be unable to produce until the pipeline is back on.

A Nexen spokesperson told Offshore Energy Today that the company decided to take “a safe, temporary shutdown of production” at its Buzzard and Scott facilities.

“We will continue to liaise with Ineos as they work to resolve the situation,” the spokesperson said.

The Buzzard Field is located 57 kilometers northeast of St Fergus. It holds an estimated 1.5 billion barrels of medium-light oil in place and came on stream in late-2006. The field is developed using a four-platform complex, with 36 producing wells and 11 water injectors.

Forties Blend crude oil changed in quality at the beginning of 2007 when crude oil from the Buzzard field began production through the FPS. Although there are over seventy other fields making up Forties Blend, Buzzard is now the largest component field and it has altered the hydrocarbon characteristics of the Blend.

The Scott platform, which came on stream in 1993, produces crude oil and natural gas from the Scott, Telford, and Rochelle fields. Scott is located about 188 km northeast of Aberdeen in 142 meters of water.

Also as a result of the Forties shutdown, Serica Energy stopped production from its Erskine field while Shell announced the shutdown of production from Shearwater and Nelson platforms in the central North Sea.

Following the news of the Forties pipeline being shut down, Brent oil price rose above $65 a barrel on Tuesday for the first time since mid-2015.

Offshore Energy Today Staff

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