Ineos has found a crack on the Forties pipeline which is a strategic UK asset that delivers almost 40 per cent of the UK’s North Sea oil and gas. Repairs could take a couple of weeks and has led to a large number of platforms suspending production.
The 235 mile Forties pipeline system links 85 North Sea oil and gas assets to the UK mainland and the INEOS site in Grangemouth in Scotland.
Ineos said it had discovered a small hairline crack in the pipe at Red Moss near Netherley, just south of Aberdeen.
In a statement Ineos said: "A repair and oil spill response team was mobilised on Wednesday, December 6, after a very small amount of oil seepage was reported. Measures to contain the seepage were put in place, no oil has been detected entering the environment and the pipe has been continuously monitored. Despite reducing the pressure the crack has extended, and as a consequence the Incident Management Team has now decided that a controlled shutdown of the pipeline is the safest way to proceed."
Deirdre Michie, chief executive of Oil & Gas UK, said: "We have been in touch with Ineos and are closely monitoring the situation and hope this can be resolved safely and as quickly as possible."
The shutdown of the pipeline will be a big blow for Ineos, which only completed its £200m purchase of the Forties Pipeline System (FPS) from BP at the end of October.