ConocoPhillips, BP Relocate North Sea Oil Workers Amid Storm

ConocoPhillips and BP Plc are among companies that have relocated offshore oil workers to the mainland as production is crimped by a storm that is sweeping across the North Atlantic and North Sea.

A low pressure system dubbed Xaver may reach hurricane force with wind speeds of more than 140 kilometers (87 miles) an hour as it traversed southern parts of the North Sea before reaching landfall on the northern German and Danish coast, according to the German Weather Service.

“With weather conditions expected to peak on Thursday afternoon, we have relocated a number of personnel onshore and to the Ekofisk complex,” Tore Falck, a spokesman for Houston-based ConocoPhillips said in an e-mailed response to questions. “Production will be partly impacted until we can safely resume full operations.”

Some of the affected fields feed into crude streams that make up Dated Brent, which is used to price more than half the world’s oil. Shipments of the four grades, Brent, Forties, Oseberg and Ekofisk which compose the benchmark, are scheduled to increase to 987,097 barrels a day in December, the highest since February 2012, according to loading programs obtained by Bloomberg News.

Conoco brought 157 workers onshore from the Ekofisk area, on Dec. 3, said Kris Sava, a Houston-based spokesman for the company. Output at the BP-operated Valhall, also located in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea, has been “insignificantly affected,” Jan Erik Geirmo, a Stavanger, Norway-based spokesman, said today by e-mail. BP relocated 120 workers to the mainland, with 180 people remaining on the platform, he said. Crude from Valhall feeds into the Ekofisk stream.

Gryphon Alpha

Maersk Oil U.K. Ltd and Talisman Sinopec Energy U.K. Ltd have also shut facilities. “At 9:15 a.m., the Gryphon Alpha installation was ramping down production ahead of a precautionary shutdown,” Charlotte Holst Hansen, a spokeswoman for Maersk Oil, said today in an e-mailed reply to questions. “The shutdowns are expected to last for 24 to 36 hours.”

Gryphon produced 15,700 barrels a day of oil in July and 11,500 barrels in August, according to the latest production data from the U.K.’s Department of Energy and Climate Change.

“A precautionary shutdown procedure has been implemented on the Janice installations,” Maersk said, without specifying if output would be halted. The field’s output fluctuated from 2,500 to 5,500 barrels of oil a day, according to DECC data. Janice crude also flows into the Ekofisk blend.

The halts follow Talisman’s shutdown of the Buchan Alpha platform. Crude from Buchan feeds into the Forties stream.

Buchan produced about 4,000 to 5,000 barrels of oil a day in the first half of this year, DECC data show. Gryphon output is sold as a standalone grade directly from the field’s floating production, storage and offloading unit.

Statoil ASA has moved workers onshore from the Troll B field, Norway’s Petroleum Safety Authority said in an e-mailed response to questions. A Statoil spokesman could not be reached by phone and e-mail when contacted by Bloomberg News.

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