A NORTH Atlantic oil field which has been shut down since a tanker accident in October will reopen next month.
Oil giant BP has confirmed that the Schiehallion field, 175 miles west of Shetland, is within weeks of resuming production following three months of repairs.
The shutdown is reported to have lost the firm £500million in revenues, although the company has refused to discuss this figure.
A spokesman said the income was “deferred” rather than lost however.
The decision to close the field was taken after a huge floating platform, also named Schiehallion, was forced out of action when it was hit by the shuttle tanker Loch Rannoch on October 9.
The crash happened when the 130,000-tonne tanker was docking to take oil from the 144,000-tonne platform for transfer to land.
Its only hose-reel used for exporting the oil was damaged and work can not resume until it is repaired.
A total of 120 people were on board but no one was hurt and there was no evacuation or major loss of oil.
BP sources claimed the crew on board the Loch Rannoch were forced to switch off a faulty satellite navigation system and use a back-up.
The back-up system failed to recognise the tanker had moved since it was last used, around 100 miles away.
The Schiehallion platform can produce up to 117,000 barrels a day.
Based on the price of oil on the day of the accident, the firm was estimated to be losing £5,247,874 each day.
Loss of business from the oil field has also had an impact on Shetland Council’s harbour board, which lost around £1million in revenue from its Sullom Voe oil terminal.
Chairman Alastair Cooper said the shutdown was having a damaging effect on the council’s income stream and could cause problems next year when new harbour charges have to be set.
Schiehallion is the main contributor to the council’s income from the harbour at the Sullom Voe terminal, representing about 40% of tanker traffic.