Maersk Oil to Keep UK Installation Shut After Storm Damage


Maersk Oil will keep its offshore Gryphon oil and gas installation shut for a considerable time after sustaining damage in a storm last week. The Gryphon Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel is stable, all wells have been closed in and no oil spill has been seen.

Work is continuing to secure the FPSO permanently, assess the damage done and plan for future repairs.

The FPSO was shut down last Friday morning in heavy storms during which four of ten anchor chains broke, allowing the vessel to move off its position. All wells were immediately closed in and subsequent surveys from planes, vessels and remotely operated vehicles under the water confirm no oil was sighted.

Seventy four non-essential staff were evacuated to a nearby platform and 43 essential crew members are currently on board. Two crew members received minor injuries. The FPSO was stabilised within minutes of its moving off position.

“Given the sudden and rapid nature of this incident under extreme weather conditions, I want to praise the prompt and calm response of the crew on board that ensured wells were shut and the vessel made stable in a very short amount of time,” said Martin Pedersen, Managing Director of Maersk Oil UK.

The FPSO vessel is stationed above the Gryphon, Maclure and Tullich oil and gas fields. A complex piping system runs from wells on the seabed up to the FPSO.

Gross average daily production was projected to be 18,400 barrels of oil per day in 2011. Maersk Oil’s share of this production would have been 14,500 barrels of oil a day.

Technical teams have attached two tugboats to secure the vessel and allow anchor chains to be reconnected to the anchors. Assessments are being made of the damage to the FPSO and the piping system connecting the wells to the FPSO.

A separate investigation team is identifying the exact sequence of events, which lasted for around ten minutes, and its causes.

“While we expect to have the FPSO permanently secured with anchors soon, the investigations, repair work to the FPSO and the associated riser system will take a long time. Gryphon will be shut for several months, although it is far too early to be more precise,” Pedersen said.

Maersk Oil has been in full contact and cooperation with the Health and Safety Executive, the Department of Energy and Climate Change and all other relevant regulatory bodies.

About Maersk Oil UK

Maersk Oil has built its business in the UK around the acquisition of Kerr McGee’s assets in 2005 in the UK North Sea and North Atlantic. Since then Maersk Oil has expanded and has an interest in 14 producing fields, operating seven of those. Maersk Oil’s current share of production is about 50,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day. Maersk Oil holds varying interests in over 50 exploration licences, about half of which it operates. Development plans are expected in 2011 for the Golden Eagle, Hobby and Pink fields, as well as for the Flyndre area. Further appraisal drilling is ongoing at the Culzean gas discovery to determine potential development options.

About Maersk Oil

Maersk Oil is an international oil and gas company with operated production of about 700,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day from fields in the Danish and UK North Sea, offshore Qatar and in Kazakhstan. Maersk Oil exploration activities are ongoing offshore UK, Denmark Norway, Angola, Brazil, the US Gulf of Mexico, Greenland and onshore Oman. Maersk Oil and its subsidiary companies are part of the Danish A.P. Moller – Maersk Group. Maersk Oil was established in 1962, when it was awarded a concession for oil and gas exploration and production in Denmark.


Source:Maersk, February  10, 2011;

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