Pipeline damage forces closure of Libyan field

30 April 2008

Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) says it has been forced to close a major production platform on the offshore Jorf field, after an oil pipeline was damaged by mistake during drilling.

NOC and the other operators of the field, Germany’s Wintershall and France’s Total, say that the closure will “last for weeks” while the pipeline is repaired. The platform processes 45,000 barrels a day.

The incident occurred when a deviation in a drilling line, used in the development of new well, hit a pipeline in an adjacent well, creating the possibility of a blow-out. A blow-out is the sudden release of oil and gas from the wellhead, often at supersonic speeds. It can cause substantial damage to facilities and personnel.

Following the incident, the production platform was evacuated and the field’s emergency team was brought in to assess the damage.

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