Workers on a platform over Talisman’s Yme field in the Norwegian North Sea have been evacuated as a safety precaution due concerns over its substructure.
Some 140 staff from the Yme mobile offshore production unit, which is undergoing construction work by its operator, SBM Offshore, were moved to the floating accommodation unit Safe Regalia.
The field is not currently producing – it had been due on stream in 2009 – but the development, sanctioned in 2007, has been beset by delays.
Andreas Middelthon, press spokesman for Talisman, said: “As a responsible operator, it is our obligation to stop the work if we believe that the safety of the workers on board is not adequately documented.
“Both our own and SBM’s preliminary calculations show challenges in the supporting structure.
“We have asked SBM for DNV-approved documentation that shows that it is safe for personnel to work on the platform.
“When such documentation did not exist within the set deadline, Talisman decided this afternoon from a precautionary principle to move the personnel from Yme to the floatel Regalia until such documentation is provided.”
Talisman has a 60% stake in Yme, while Poland’s second-largest refiner Lotos has 20%, Norske ADEC holds 10% and Wintershall 10%.
The Yme field, discovered in 1987, produced about 50million barrels of oil from 1996 to 2001 until low oil prices led to its closure by operator Statoil.
During a conference call on Talisman’s first quarter results, John Manzoni, president and chief executive, said an independent assessment of the project had found “a substantial amount of work” was needed to put the platform in a state of compliance.
Mr Manzoni also said he was “completely removing” the field from forward production projections and he said the firm would take a $250million writedown on the project, to reflect the delay.
Contractor SBM Offshore, which is building the platform and will operate and lease it, has also taken write-downs on the project.
Mr Manzoni said: “There is obviously considerable complexity in this, including the performance of the contractor and compensation for what has happened.
“I suspect that will take considerable time, and will be quite separate from our continued intent to get the platform working and producing oil.”