ABERDEEN, UK -- Maersk Oil has been forced to shut down operations at its Gryphon FPSO in the UK North Sea, following recent storm damage.
The facility will remain out of service for some time, as Maersk assesses the extent of the damage and the requirement for repairs, including risers/flowlines. However, the vessel is stable, all wells have been shut in, and no oil spill observed.
Heavy storms last Friday caused four of the FPSO’s 10 anchor chains to break, leading to the vessel moving from its normal position, although it was rapidly stabilized. Seventy four staff were evacuated to a nearby platform, leaving 43 essential crew members on board. Two crew members suffered minor injuries.
The FPSO vessel serves the Gryphon, Maclure, and Tullich oil and gas fields. Gross average production for 2011 was predicted to be 18,400 b/d prior to the incident.
Two tugboats have secured the vessel, allowing the anchor chains to be reconnected to the anchors. An investigative team is examining the exact sequence of events, which lasted for around 10 minutes, and the possible causes.
“While we expect to have the FPSO permanently secured with anchors soon, the investigations, repair work to the FPSO and the associated riser system will take a long time. Gryphon will be shut for several months, although it is far too early to be more precise,” said Martin Pedersen, managing director of Maersk Oil UK.
Maersk Oil is cooperating with the UK’s Health and Safety Executive, the Department of Energy and Climate Change, and other regulatory bodies.