TAQA has begun the process of restoring the flow of an estimated 80,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil in the Brent pipeline system following a precautionary shutdown on Monday.
The pipeline system, which is operated by TAQA and runs through the Cormorant Alpha platform, was halted after a small hydrocarbons release in one of the platform’s legs. Investigations have found there is no connection between the Brent pipeline system and the pipeline involved in the release. The process of restarting Brent throughput follows a thorough technical evaluation that shows it is safe to do so without any increased risk to Cormorant Alpha.
The hydrocarbons released are contained within the platform leg and none have been released into the environment. Hydrocarbon levels in the leg have been continually monitored since the release was discovered. Measurements within the leg show that the volume released is small. Work is under way to mitigate the release of hydrocarbons, and preparations are being made to stop it and effect repairs.
Cormorant Alpha normally handles about 90,000 bpd of crude oil feeding the Brent pipeline system, including approximately 10,000 bpd in Cormorant Alpha production. Cormorant Alpha production remains closed while work on the platform leg continues.
There were 159 people on board Cormorant Alpha when the incident was discovered on Monday. On Tuesday, 92 non-core personnel left the platform and three specialists came aboard to help resolve the incident. All these people are accounted for and safe.
Cormorant Alpha is operated by TAQA Bratani Ltd and is located 232 miles from Peterhead, Scotland and 94 miles from Lerwick in the Shetland Islands.
Press Release, January 17, 2013