Total delays Martin Linge project after fatal shipyard accident

French oil major Total has delayed the start-up of the Martin Linge project offshore Norway by a year, after a fatal yard accident in South Korea.

The accident, in which six workers were killed, happened at the Samsung Heavy Industries Geoje yard in South Korea on May 1, 2017. Samsung Heavy is responsible for the construction of modules for Total’s Martin Linge topsides.

After the fatal accident, Total has assessed the status of some of its projects given that the yard is being used for construction works related to three of its major projects: Martin Linge (Norway), Egina (Nigeria), and Ichthys (Australia), the French company informed on Thursday.

Arnaud Breuillac, President, Exploration & Production at Total, said: “Total has dispatched its experts to join the ongoing investigation to identify the fundamental causes of the accident and implement the necessary preventive measures to avoid any reoccurrence of such accidents. All works at the yard were suspended for several days in order to give absolute priority to the investigation, provide psychological support to the workers and review lessons learned before restarting activities.”


Modules delayed


Following the accident, works related to the Martin Linge project were suspended until June 1. Total said that, as a result, the shipping of the Martin Linge modules from the South Korean yard to Norway will be delayed. The installation of the modules and lifting operations, which can only be carried out during summertime given weather conditions in the Norwegian North Sea, had initially been planned for summer 2017 but have now been postponed to summer 2018.

Therefore, the company explained, given the hook-up and commissioning operations, production start-up has been delayed to first half 2019. The Martin Linge oil and gas field is located in the North Sea approximately 180 kilometers west of Bergen, Norway. The project partners are Total E&P Norge (51% operator), Petoro (30%) and Statoil (19%).

According to the company, works on its Egina FPSO resumed following a two-week suspension and the impact on the project, which is expected to start up in second half 2018, will be limited.

The Egina development is located in deep offshore Block OML 130 approximately 150 kilometers off the Nigerian coast. Project partners are Total (24% Operator), CNOOC (45%), Petrobras (16%) and Sapetro (15%).

Finally, the CPF (Central Processing Facilities) for the Ichthys project, operated by Inpex, had already departed the Geoje yard several days before the accident and is now installed on the field in offshore Australia. The start-up of Ichthys, in which Total holds 30% alongside Inpex (62.245%), has therefore not been impacted by the accident and is scheduled for the first quarter of 2018.