Weather Issues May Cut Norway Winter Oil Output

The petroleum industry is facing a new autumn and winter with challenges concerning the lifeboats on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS), StatoilHydro reports today.


“Throughout the winter, StatoilHydro will have to continue transferring personnel on some platforms in adverse weather conditions. This could affect production,” the company said in a statement.

On Sept. 8 some of the crew on the Visund platform in the North Sea were airlifted to other platforms nearby, or to the mainland. The number of crew on Åsgard B was also reduced during Monday and Tuesday. This is because of a temporary limitation in evacuation capacity when the waves exceed a certain height in specific wind directions. However, the weather forecast improved and the situation was normalised so the crew were flown back to the platforms.

“During the winter, StatoilHydro will be able to transfer personnel from some platforms without production being affected. In most cases this could mean that maintenance and project work will be postponed,” the company said. “In extreme cases production could be affected on some platforms during parts of the winter.”

Last winter, StatoilHydro was forced to shut down the Asgard B platform for a few days in December because of severe weather, halting production from several nearby fields that produce about 27 million cubic meters of gas a day.

StatoilHydro said it has devoted considerable resources to improving lifeboat safety, replacing 12 boats and making improvements to several others on a total of 10 platforms.

“The primary means of evacuation in hazardous circumstances or accidents is the helicopter. Lifeboats are important as a secondary means of evacuation and must be able to be used in all situations. Freefall lifeboats have never been used to evacuate a platform on the NCS,” StatoilHydro explains.

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