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Statoil to Restart Drilling at Gullfaks After Review

Statoil ASA, Norway’s biggest oil and gas producer, has decided to resume drilling and well operations at the Gullfaks field in the North Sea after halting activity on Nov. 10 to conduct a safety review.

Statoil carried out a “detailed review” of its planned drilling and well operations on the field after pressure in a well on its Gullfaks C platform destabilized on May 19, causing an evacuation and a two-month production shut-down, it said in an e-mailed statement today. Findings made and measures adopted after drilling stopped on Nov. 10 have been presented to the Norwegian Petroleum Safety Authority, the company said.

“We’ve resolved to resume such operations on Gullfaks after a detailed verification that all safety standards have been met,” Geir Slora, head of drilling and wells at Statoil, said in the statement.

Only “chance” averted a full-scale blowout or explosion at the Gullfaks field in May, the Safety Authority said in a report last month. Statoil has been ordered by the agency to investigate why deficiencies weren’t picked up and why assessments of similar earlier incidents didn’t have an effect on safety at Gullfaks. Statoil has qualified the incident as “serious” and the Norwegian environmental group Bellona has filed a police complaint against the company.

Statoil did not specify when drilling at Gullfaks would start. Spokesman Geir Gjervan was not immediately available for comment.

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