Lightning strike causes temporary shutdown of Forties pipeline

A lightning strike in Aberdeenshire has caused the temporary shutdown of a major North Sea pipeline.

The Forties Pipeline System (FPS) has been shut down after a power surge at Cruden Bay in the early hours of this morning.

Operator Ineos said the outage was caused by a lightning strike.

The firm said all safety systems responded accordingly and a shutdown took place following safety protocols.

The pipeline system is expected to be restarted by lunchtime today.

A spokesman said: “INEOS FPS Limited confirms a lightning strike in the Cruden Bay area, in the early hours of Friday 18th October, caused a power surge followed by loss of power to Cruden Bay.

“All safety systems responded accordingly and a full FPS system shutdown occurred, following standard safety precautions.

“INEOS is following its standard protocols. We are now in recovery mode and working through our safe system start up procedures and aims to restart by lunch today.”

Earlier this year Ineos reduced flow from the FPS over the course of a few days to carry out repair works.

According to analysts Wood Mackenzie, Forties is the largest offshore pipeline system in the UK North Sea by volume.

It serves around 80 fields in the Central and Northern North Sea and several Norwegian fields, and last year it averaged 400,000 barrels per day of throughput.

In December 2017, flow through Forties was suspended, forcing a host of oil majors to shut down production from fields served by the giant pipeline due to a lack of storage.

Industry body Oil and Gas UK said £20 million worth of North Sea production per day was being held back as a result.

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Craigmill, Pitcaple, Inverurie, Aberdeenshire, United Kingdom, AB51 5HP
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