Ineos: Crack in Forties pipeline stabilised, but repair works might take weeks

Following the controlled shutdown of the Forties Pipeline System on the 11th December, Ineos has stabilised the crack in the pipeline which prompted the closure. Ineos estimates that repair works might take weeks.


Last week, Ineos discovered a small hairline crack in the pipe at Red Moss near Netherley, just south of Aberdeen. This has forced Ineos as the operator to conduct a controlled shutdown of the pipeline.


In an update on the 14th December, Ineos said that its engineers and technicians continue to assess the latest inspection data from the small hairline crack in the pipeline.


According to the company, continued assessment of the pipeline since the 11th December has confirmed that the hairline crack has stabilised and no further growth has been recorded for 48 hours.


“As a consequence, this morning we have been able to reduce the precautionary safety cordon from 300 metres down to 150 metres. This means the five residencies originally located within this area are now no longer within the cordon. The one family who had decided to relocate into temporary accommodation has now returned to their home,” the company said.


Given the proximity to the site the unclassified CK12 Netherley to Cookney road remains closed by the police and drivers are still advised to seek alternative routes.


A number of repair options are currently being assessed and developed. Ineos added that, at this stage, it is still too early to say how long the repair will take to complete, but it is expected to be a matter of weeks rather than days.


Force Majeure  

“We can confirm that formal Force Majeure has been declared on relevant contracts and we continue to work closely with our customers during this period, as well as local communities, Government and other stakeholders,” Ineos emphasised.


The company also said it is working hard to minimise the impact of the pipeline closure as far as possible.


As a result of the Forties pipeline closure, production at a number of North Sea platforms, which use the pipeline to transport oil, has been closed.


Serica Energy has reduced its yearly output guidance as its only producing field, the Erskine, uses the FPS as the export route for Erskine condensate. Shell has suspended production from the Shearwater and Nelson platforms in the central North Sea and Nexen has temporarily ceased production from the Buzzard and Scott platforms in the North Sea.