PRODUCTION has been shut down at one of the North Sea’s largest oil fields following a release of steam on the giant Buzzard platform complex.
All 371 personnel on board the Nexen-operated installation were called to their muster stations on Monday night following the incident on the platform, 60 miles North east of Aberdeen.
No one was injured as a result of the escape of steam but production had been shutdown as a precautionary measure.
A spokeswoman for Canadian oil giant Nexen said: “Last night at 8.10pm a release of steam on the Buzzard platform triggered a low level gas alarm. As a result, production at Buzzard was shut in.”
She continued: “The cause of the steam release has now been identified and we are working on a resolution. We expect production to resume within 24 hours. All 371 people at the Buzzard complex were called to muster last night when the alarm went off and were accounted for. There were no injuries.”
A spokeswoman for the Health and Safety Executive said the agency was aware of an incident and was keeping in close contact with Nexen.
Buzzard normally produces around 160,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day. The field, acquired by Nexen in 2004, was the biggest discovery in the UK sector of the North Sea for more than 20 years. Production from the massive complex began in 2007. Oil from Buzzard is exported via the Forties pipeline to the Kinneil Terminal.
In April last year production from the giant field was shutdown for almost a week following a fire thought to have started following a problem with a gas compressor on the field’s newest platform. And in November angry oil traders branded the output disruption at Buzzard as “worse than Nigeria” after production problems flared up again after the field was shut down for almost two months for maintenance work
Buzzard is the biggest of the North Sea fields that contribute to the Forties crude blend, which underpins the key Brent benchmark price. The field holds enough crude to potentially deliver about 10 ten per cent of the UK’s annual forecast oil demand.