LONDON // About 10 per cent of UK oil production remains disrupted at an estimated cost of US$10 million (Dh36.7m) a day in lost revenues after a leak at an Abu Dhabi-owned offshore facility resulted in the closure of a key North Sea pipeline network.
A leak discovered on Monday on a North Sea oil platform operated by Abu Dhabi's National Energy Company, Taqa, is under control, according to the company yesterday, but non-essential staff have been evacuated as a precautionary measure.
Three specialists have been flown to the platform to investigate the source of the leak, joining the 67 personnel still aboard the Cormorant Alpha platform, about 370 kilometres offshore of Scotland, a spokeswoman for Taqa Bratani, the North Sea branch of Taqa Global, said yesterday.
There has been no spillage into the environment, she said.
"The situation is completely under control. Everything has been contained in the leg, the platform has been shut down, it's made safe and all our people are safe," said the spokeswoman.
The evacuation by helicopter of 92 personnel on Tuesday came after hydrocarbons were detected inside a leg of the platform on Monday.
Oil and Gas UK, the United Kingdom's offshore industry body, has offered Taqa Bratani support, but said there were no fears about a full-scale oil spill.
The leak had been caught early, a spokeswoman for the body said yesterday. Cormorant Alpha is part of the Brent Crude Pipeline that joins up 27 platforms in the North Sea.
Production from those fields feeds through Cormorant Alpha, and the shutdown there has caused closures at eight other platforms, Taqa Bratani said yesterday.
All pipeline infrastructure running through Cormorant Alpha has been shut down.
Oil and Gas UK says the cost of lost production is about $10m a day, with the pipeline accounting for a sizeable proportion of Britain's oil production.
"We estimate that oil usually produced from the fields that are currently shut down across the Brent Pipeline System accounts for about 10 per cent of UK oil production," said Mike Tholen, economics director at Oil and Gas UK. A Reuters report yesterday said that the entire system was expected to export around 135,000 barrels per day of oil this month, around 8 per cent of British offshore oil production.
The Taqa platform handles some 90,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil, of which 10,000 is from the Cormorant field.
The company said it was evaluating whether to restore the throughput of the remaining 80,000 bpd.
The company said it would await technical assurance that any resumption can be undertaken safely. Shell UK offered to help Taqa with the repairs.
"We will be monitoring the situation closely to identify any potential impacts on the Brent Field from the Brent Charlie installation returning to full production. An offer of technical and material support has been made to Taqa," a Shell spokesman told Reuters.
Taqa acquired its North Sea assets in 2008.