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FIRE halts BP oil production at Valhall platform, North Sea

Posted by feww on July 15, 2011

Valhall oil platform evacuated, production suspended indefinitely

The fire, which started in a compressor on the platform at 15:00UTC, forced BP to evacuated 638 workers and shut down the platform, according to NRK, the Norwegian state broadcaster.

“No persons are injured and no one is missing,” BP spokesman Jan Erik Geirmo told NRK. “We see this as a serious incident.”

“How it was ignited, we have no idea,” he said. “If any place should burn, it was one of the best places for it to happen. It had no big potential to escalate. But a fire is a fire.”

Valhall oil field is located at a depth of about 70 meters in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea some  290 km (180 miles) off southern Norway. Discovered in 1975, the oil field became operational in 1982.

Valhall has a total production capacity of about 180,000 bpd, however it was only producing about  42,000 bpd before the fire because, according to BP, the platform was old.

Hess, a New-York listed company is the majority owner of Valhall oil field with a 64 percent share, with  operator BP holding 36 percent.

Valhall Oil Platform Complex. Source BP. Click image to enlarge.

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