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IEA cuts UK oil production estimate due to Forties shutdown

Two of the Forties Field Platforms at sunset. Stewart Crockett (Elgin)
Two of the Forties Field Platforms at sunset. Stewart Crockett (Elgin)

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has announced that it will reduce its estimate for UK oil production by 300kb/d for December in reaction to the Forties pipeline closure.

The IEA also predict a $54/bbl average for 2017, up 20% on 2016, based partly on the supply disruption witnessed since the leak was discovered.

Earlier this week a number of residents were evacuated from their homes, a road was closed and a cordon was set up after the discovery was made on the Forties Pipeline System.

The 235-mile pipeline system links more than 80 North Sea field to the UK mainland and the Ineos site in Grangemouth, delivering almost 40% of the UK’s North Sea production.

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.

On Monday Ineos said the crack had got bigger, forcing it into a controlled shutdown.

The IEA said that they plan to revisit the situation when the impact of the closure becomes clearer, but that ‘2018 may not necessarily be a happy New Year for those who would like to see a tighter market’.

IEA said: ‘A lot could change in the next few months but it looks as if the producers’ hopes for a happy New Year with de-stocking continuing into 2018 at the same 500 kb/d pace we have seen in 2017 may not be fulfilled’.

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