Photo: FPF-1 platform in the North Sea; Source: Ithaca Energy

Ithaca shuts down North Sea platform over Covid-19 outbreak

Production on the Ithaca Energy-operated North Sea platform has been shut down due to a Covid-19 outbreak.

Following reports that Ithaca closed the production on the FPF-1 platform, Offshore Energy has reached out to the company seeking confirmation and further details.

In an emailed response, a spokesperson for Ithaca confirmed that a crew member on board Ithaca Energy’s FPF-1 was medevac’d on 19 January 2021 due to displaying coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms.

The FPF-1 unit is located approximately 240 kilometres east of Aberdeen.

Ithaca spokesperson stated that, upon arriving onshore, the crew member tested positive for COVID-19.

All close contacts onboard the FPF-1 were identified and isolated from the rest of the crew, under the supervision of the onboard medic, before they were down manned from the platform.

The spokesperson added that a further three crew members were medevac’d on 20 January 2021, due to displaying COVID-19 symptoms. Upon arriving onshore, all three crew members tested positive for COVID-19.

Close contacts of the crew members are now isolating under the supervision of the onboard medic and will be down manned from the platform as soon as possible.

Ithaca said in the statement: “Production on the FPF-1 has been shut in to ensure the safety of all those on board.

“We are moving to minimum manning, conducting a thorough deep clean, and implementing testing of those essential personnel remaining onboard the platform. We will not seek to restart production until we are confident that the virus has been eradicated from the platform and we can start up in a safe and controlled manner”.

Ithaca also added that Public Health Scotland and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have been notified.

The Ithaca Energy-operated Greater Stella Area is located in the heart of the Central Graben area of the Central North Sea, on the UK Continental Shelf.

The Greater Stella Area licences contain the Stella and Harrier fields, both of which are in production, and the Vorlich field, which started production in November 2020.

Production started from the Stella field in early 2017 and from Harrier in 2018.

The development involved the drilling of subsea wells tied back to the Ithaca Energy-owned and operated “FPF-1” floating production facility, with the onward export of oil into the ConocoPhillips-operated “Norpipe” system and gas into the Kellas Midstream-operated “CATS” system.

Ithaca also last year moved forward with its plans to develop the Abigail field, located in the UK North Sea, as a subsea tie-back to its FPF-1 facility.

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