An investigation was underway Thursday into what caused a separator to start smoking on board one of state oil company Equinor’s oil platforms in the North Sea on Wednesday afternoon. The smoke sent around 120 people on board the platform into its lifeboats, and triggered a major emergency response.
The smoke, it turned out, was coming from equipment that separates oil, gas and water from one another on Equinor’a Snorre B platform. The platform itself has been undergoing maintenance and production was shut down, so there was no danger that oil or gas would begin to burn.
There were no injuries or casualties, and the situation was brought under control. The crew on board was nonetheless readied for evacuation, with rescue helicopters and vessels in the area sent to the platform to help. By 5pm the alarms were called off and crew members were allowed to return to the platform’s residential area.
It remained unclear what caused the separator to start smoking. The platform is controlled by Equinor, and located around 80 nautical miles west of Florø on Norway’s northwest coast.