Leak closes Statoil’s Njord field

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The discovery on Easter Sunday of a gas leak at the Njord oil and gas field, operated by Norwegian part state-owned company Statoil, has resulted in the closure of the field.

The Njord A facility, picture above, is where the gas leak occurred. Photo: Øyvind Nesvåg / Statoil

The leak was discovered at 14:00 on Easter Sunday using handheld monitoring equipment and comes from a special type of flexible riser between the Njord A platform and the ocean floor. After closing the leak, Statoil declared that production had been stopped – and also confirmed that the riser had been tested and approved just one week earlier.

Although Statoil could not confirm the amount of gas that had escaped, it is believed to be between two and five cubic meters. Onboard warning systems did not detect the leak because the wind blew the gas away from the installation. The riser had been checked as part of an extraordinary round of testing carried out on the rig since April 1, which had been launched after internal damage to a number of risers had been found during routine inspections last year.

Statoil’s information chief, Morten Eek, promised to “investigate the incident and try to find the cause of the leak” when speaking to news agency NTB. A representative of the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway, Kjell Gunnar Dørum, also told NTB that his organization believed that Statoil had “handled the issue in a good way,” and were pleased that the company “has followed the precautionary principle and introduced extra inspections of these risers.”

It is unclear when production will begin again in the Njord field, which is found in the Norwegian Sea.

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