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Reuters: UPDATE 1-Safety woes may halt 2 Norway oilfields

OSLO, Oct 12 (Reuters) – Norway’s Petroleum Safety Authority will halt production on the Snorre and Draugen oilfields on the Norwegian continental shelf because of inadequate lifeboat standards, Bergens Tidende newspaper reported on Thursday.

But Anglo-Dutch oil group Shell (RDSa.L: Quote, Profile, Research) said the Draugen oilfield it runs in the Norwegian Sea was still producing and voiced confidence it would meet safety obligations to upgrade its lifeboats without halting output.

Geir Haug, a Shell spokesman, said the safety authority had denied a request by Shell to continue to produce at Draugen while it addressed the lifeboat problems, but the company was confident it would not have to stop production.

“Draugen is still producing and we are confident that we will fulfil obligations from the safety authority, which wanted more details from us,” he told Reuters.

Neither Norwegian oil firm Statoil (STL.OL: Quote, Profile, Research), which operates Snorre, nor the Petroleum Safety Authority were immediately available for comment.

The Snorre field is expected to produce about 126,000 barrels of oil per day in 2006 and Draugen 81,000 bpd, according to Norwegian petroleum directorate data.

Statoil has 15.6 percent of Snorre, whose other major owners are Norway’s state-owned Petoro with 30 percent, Norsk Hydro (NHY.OL: Quote, Profile, Research) with 17.7 and U.S. Exxon Mobil (XOM.N: Quote, Profile, Research) at 11.2 percent.

Draugen’s main shareholders are Shell with 26.2 percent, Petoro with 47.9 percent and BP (BP.L: Quote, Profile, Research) with 18.4 percent

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