The Kårstø processing plant. Image courtesy of Øyvind Hagen/Statoil ASA.

A gas leak at Statoil’s Kårstø processing plant in Norway was stopped on Friday but has reportedly cut production capacity at the facility by about 50 percent.

The company said the leak was detected Thursday night in the Statpipe-facility where gas pipelines connect to the facility for processing.

All personnel have been accounted for and no injuries were reported.

The plant was evacuated down to a 25 member skeleton crew to manage the incident on Thursday.

Neither the size nor the cause of the release has been determined yet.

“It is too early to say anything about the cause of the incident, which will be investigated,” Statoil said.

Emergency crews worked to depressurize the facility on Thursday night and performed controlled burn-offs of gas  from the three process flares at the facility.

The leak was stopped on Friday but a smaller leak occurred during the normalization and start-up process.

The smaller leak, a common occurrence during the run-up of plant sections, did not require the mobilization of external resources, Statoil said.

The smaller leak was identified and is now under control.

Statoil said both Statpipe production trains have been stopped and has not disclosed when it expects the trains to be back online.

Norway-based pipeline operator Gassco told Marketwatch the leak cut production capacity at the Kårstø plant  by about 50 percent and added that export capacity would likely be limited on Friday.

“This may have consequences for customers today. We expect to be back in normal operation by tomorrow [Saturday],” Gassco spokeswoman Lisbet Kallevik said.

The leak also reduced output capacity at Statoil’s Sleipner gas field in the North Sea by about half, Marketwatch added.

Statoil has not disclosed when it expects production levels at Sleipner to return to normal.

According to Statoil, the Sleipner area produces about 300,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day,
36 million Sm3 of gas per day and 14,000 Sm3 condensate per day.

The Kårstø processing plant is located north of Stavanger and plays a key role in the transport and treatment of gas and condensate from key areas on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.


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