Statoil Facing Scrutiny over Spill

Statfjord A

Published Oct 12, 2015 7:04 PM by The Maritime Executive

Norway’s Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA) is investigating the oil spill reported by Statoil last week. About 250 barrels of oil was spilled during the loading of oil from Statjord A to the M/T Hilda Knutsen via the OLS loading buoy, which is located between Statfjord A and Statfjord B.

Statoil reported that the spill was caused by a leak located in a flange in the loading hose.

PSA stated: “The Petroleum Safety Authority has resolved to investigate this incident, in part to clarify the course of events and to identify the direct and underlying causes. Issues due to be covered will include the technical condition, maintenance and operation of the offshore loading system.”

In January 2014, Statoil shut down operations at its Statfjord C platform after emergency systems detected an oil leak. More than 250 crew members were evacuated to lifeboats.

Statfjord A is one of Statoil’s oldest producing fields, and produces more than 24,000 bpd. Centrica and ExxonMobil are Statoil’s partners in Statfjord A. Production was scheduled to end at the field a few years ago, but in 2013 Statoil, Centrica and Exxon agreed to extend production until 2020.

The entire Statfjord region is produces an average of 80,000 barrels of oil per day.

Bellona Stepping In

Meanwhile, the environmental organization Bellona is considering taking legal action against Statoil over the spill. 

“This is the third time Statoil has spilled oil on Statfjord since 2007,” said Bellona president Frederic Hauge indicating that the oil company was not learning from previous mistakes.

“This could prove to be a crime against the environment, where Statoil should be fined,” he said. “Bellona will contact Statoil and other relevant authorities to clarify a number of events. Based on 30 years of experience working with oil spills we consider reporting the incident to the police.”

Statoil was fined for breaking petroleum laws when it lost control of an oil well at the Gullfaks C platform in May 2010.