‘Harvey’ halts Statoil’s production in Texas

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Norwegian oil company Statoil is among the many in Texas to shut down operations, evacuate employees and halt production as the extreme weather system “Harvey” continued to ravage the area on Monday.

Statoil, which has 950 employees in Texas, closed its offices in Houston and Austin and shut down its land-based oil and gas production on the Eagle Ford field. “The situation is quite demanding,” Statoil spokesman Erik Haaland told state broadcaster NRK. “There’s a lot of rain here, and major flooding in many areas.”

Haaland said the safety of Statoil’s employees was most important. “The decision to shut down will have an effect on our operations, but we’re trying as best we can to continue as normal,” he said. It was too early to assess damage and costs, but he said he’d had no reports of any Statoil employees being injured.

“This is quite a special situation, but at the same time, Texas is an area that experiences tropical storms and hurricanes,” Haaland told NRK. “We have therefore an organization that has good procedures for how to handle this.”

Meteorologists have said the heavy rains and flooding were likely to continue for several more days. Other Norwegians living in Texas said they were mostly isolated in their homes. Houston has the largest population of Norwegians living outside Norway, around 6,000, largely because of its oil and gas industry.

NRK reported that Ingvild Leah Randle was among those who fled to the Norwegian Seamen’s Church in Houston along with her husband and two children, as water levels rose. She was later told that the entire first floor of her neighbour’s home was flooded, “so it’s probably not a good situation at our house either.”

newsinenglish.no staff