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Forties Pipeline System to shut for repairs: Update

11 Dec 2017 18:13 GMT
Forties Pipeline System to shut for repairs: Update

Adds details throughout

London, 11 December (Argus) — UK gas production slid as the Forties Pipeline System (FPS) was shut to repair a crack and could be closed for weeks, operator UK-based refiner and petrochemicals firm Ineos said today.

Output appeared to have dropped by over 20mn m³/d by this evening, and production has dropped further during previous FPS halts.

UK offshore flows to Bacton of 22.6mn m³/d around the close of trading were down from 32.7mn m³/d yesterday morning before deliveries started falling. Teesside receipts dropped to 11.3mn m³/d from 15.4mn m³/d, while supplies at St Fergus dropped to 90.5mn m³/d from 97.6mn m³/d.

Shutting the FPS halts associated gas production from connected fields, although there were already some restrictions in place before today. The curtailment at the Elgin-Frankin complex had started last week because of FPS constraints.

Aggregate UK offshore production was 100mn m³/d on 1-9 December, down from 109mn m³/d in November.

Output slipped below 60mn m³/d in early August when FPS maintenance halted most connected fields, although that was not a full shutdown of the pipeline.

Production was 56.2mn m³ on 5 August 2016, which was the day the entire pipeline was offline that summer. Output later slipped as low as 41mn m³ on 7 August 2016, although there may also have been other UK maintenance.

Some fields typically remain off before and after the FPS summer maintenance for extended work, which can result in lower aggregate UK production on other days if there are restrictions at unconnected fields.

Today's restrictions follow the discovery of a crack last week, which Ineos said has become bigger, and a "controlled shutdown of the pipeline is the safest way to proceed."

"This will allow for a suitable repair method to be worked up based on the latest inspection data," Ineos said.

All the fields linked to the FPS are expected to shut, and deferrals are expected to December's crude loadings.

Ineos bought the FPS from BP this year.

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UK offshore output during annual FPS maintenance mn m³