‘Goliat’ platform hit by new problems

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It’s been a rough week for the huge Goliat oil platform that finally became Norway’s first to operate in the Barents Sea. Conflicts over safety concerns ended up with an evacuation of Goliat late Friday night, and all production was halted.

The Goliat oil field and its new floating production and storage platform are now pumping up oil in Barents Sea, a "milestone" celebrated by Oil Minister Tord Lien, oil industry executives and lodal officials on Monday. PHOTO: Eni Norge/News On Request AS

The Goliat oil field and its new floating production and storage platform have been producing oil since April, but production had to cease and the platform was evacuated after a power cut Friday night. PHOTO: Eni Norge/News On Request AS

Newspapers Upstream and Dagens Næringsliv (DN) were reporting last week about how labour unions representing those working on board Goliat had asked its operator, Italian oil firm Eni, to cease operations. Workers on board had expressed concern about some “serious deficiencies” on the platform that was delayed for two years and finally delivered NOK 15 billion over budget. Goliat was towed into position and officially started producing oil in April.

It still needs maintenance work and there have been some gas leaks on board. “Based on the safety situation, we proposed a temporary suspension of operations in order to finish work (on the rig),” Martha Skjæveland of the labour organization Industri Energi told DN.

Eni refused, claiming it wasn’t necessary. Andreas Wulff, communications director for  Eni Norge acknowledged there had been “individual incidents” tied to gas leaks. “We take this seriously, but we want to stress that these leaks are not tied to the technical integrity of the platform,” he told DN last Friday.

Later that night, the entire platform lost power and then production was halted. Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported that of the 120 people working on board Goliat, 51 were evacuated to Hammerfest and 69 remained on the platform. The workers were airlifted off the rig, which lies 53 kilometers from Sørøya in Finnmark and has been producing more than 100,000 barrels of oil a day.

In July, Goliat ranked as the fourth-largest producer of oil on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. Wulff claimed Friday that production had been stable, with full usage of production facilities available.

That was shut down after the power cut. Eni said the evacuation was halted when power returned to the platform. The incident was reported to Norwegian authorities.

newsinenglish.no staff