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Norway’s Equinor shuts Snorre B oil platform as precaution after earthquake

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Equinor’s flag flutters next to the company’s headqurters in Stavanger, Norway December 5, 2019. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins

By Nora Buli and Terje Solsvik

OSLO (Reuters) – Norway’s Equinor has shut its Snorre B oil platform as a precautionary measure following an earthquake in the North Sea, although no damage has been reported so far, the company said on Monday.

It was not yet clear when Snorre B, which produces between 30,000-35,000 barrels per day of oil, could resume normal operation, Equinor spokesperson Gisle Ledel Johannessen said.

“Our focus now is on the safety,” he said.

Remotely operated vehicles, or ROVs, have been deployed to scan the seabed for any damage, Equinor said.

The quake, which took place early on Monday, had an estimated magnitude of 4.6, according to the Norwegian National Seismic Network.

The tremor was noticed at the Snorre field, which has several platforms, Johannessen said.

“At Snorre B, the production has been shut down as a precaution,” he said.

“Snorre is the closest in proximity to the earthquake and on the installations they felt the earthquake … But (there are) no reports of any damages to installations or on the seabed,” he added.

While small earthquakes are common along Norway’s coast, a tremor of the magnitude seen on Monday happens only once a decade on average, University of Bergen seismology Professor Lars Ottermoller told newspaper Bergens Tidende.

Norway is Europe’s second largest petroleum producer after Russia, producing around 4 million barrels of oil equivalents per day, roughly equally divided between oil and natural gas.

The Nordic country has said it will do its utmost to maintain high output of oil and gas at a time when Western nations are seeking to wean themselves off Russian petroleum following last month’s invasion of Ukraine.

Operator Equinor has a stake of 33.3% in Snorre, while state oil firm Petoro holds 30%, Vaar Energi holds 18.5%, INPEX Idemitsu 9.6% and Wintershall DEA 8.6% according to Norwegian government data.

Norway’s Equinor shuts Snorre B oil platform as precaution after earthquake

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