Oil firm Apache said today that it shut down production from the North Sea Forties field following the closure of a major pipeline.
Pipeline owner Ineos has said it will take “weeks rather than days” to fix the leak, which was detected during a routine inspection at Netherley last week.
The 235-mile pipeline system links more than 80 North Sea field to the UK mainland and the Ineos site in Grangemouth. It delivers almost 40% of the UK’s North Sea oil and gas production.
Ineos completed a deal to buy the system from BP for up to £190million ($250million) at the end of October.
The petrochemicals giant said late last week that it had lowered the pressure in the pipeline after identifying the hairline fracture, but did not have to shut it down.
But yesterday Ineos said the crack had got bigger, forcing it into a controlled shutdown.
A spokeswoman for Apache said: “We can confirms that production from the company’s Forties Field has been shut down as of today, December 11, 2017.
“This is due to unscheduled maintenance of an onshore section of the Forties Pipeline System, which is owned and operated by a third party, Ineos.
“Production from impacted Apache operations is 35,800 net barrels of oil per day.
“We are working with the pipeline operator to find out more about the repair work, including the impact to our production from the Forties Field and the expected timeline for when the Forties Pipeline System will be back in operation.
“Apache North Sea’s main concern is the safety and wellbeing of all on-board its offshore installations and to minimise any potential impact on the environment.
“The Forties oil field is located 110 miles north-east of Aberdeen, in the UK sector of the Central North Sea.”