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Shell shuts down Shearwater, Nelson platforms amid Forties closure

Oil major Shell said today that it had suspended production on two of its North Sea platforms due to the Forties pipeline shutdown.

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Owner Ineos has said it will take “weeks rather than days” to fix the leak, which was detected during a routine inspection at Netherley last week.

The 235-mile pipeline system links more than 80 North Sea field to the UK mainland and the Ineos site in Grangemouth. It delivers almost 40% of the UK’s North Sea oil and gas production.

Ineos completed a deal to buy the system from BP for up to £190million ($250million) at the end of October.

The petrochemicals giant said late last week that it had lowered the pressure in the pipeline after identifying the hairline fracture, but did not have to shut it down.

But yesterday Ineos said the crack had got bigger, forcing it into a controlled shutdown.

A spokesperson for Shell said today:  “We can confirm that production from the Shearwater and Nelson platforms in the central North Sea has been suspended following the controlled shutdown of the Forties pipeline system.

“We are working closely with the pipeline system operator, Ineos to assess the situation.”

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