14 January 2015, News Wires – Norway’s natural gas exports plunged by more than a third on Wednesday due to an emergency shutdown at its giant Troll field, sending UK prices sharply higher in early trade.
Statoil halted gas output on Tuesday from the Troll A platform after smoke was detected in an electrical switchboard, cutting production from the field that supplies a third of Norway’s output and feeds key pipelines to the UK and the continent.
A spokesman for the state-owned operator told Reuters on Wednesday it was preparing to restart production at Troll – the country’s biggest field – but had no estimate yet on when exports would start to flow.
Statoil said its emergency crews determined that there was no fire at Troll but it needed to go through system checks before the platform can restart.
Once production restarts, it usually takes six to 12 hours for flows to return to normal.
The Troll shutdown comes as several other fields are suffering unexpected outages following a major winter storm.
Total capacity was down by 131.6 million cubic metres on Wednesday, about 38% of the country’s maximum capacity.
UK gas prices for within-day delivery rose 5.5%to 49.80 pence per therm by 09:05 GMT, the biggest one-day increase since early November.
Besides Troll, Norway also had outages at the Oseberg and Kvitebjorn fields, where output was disrupted earlier due to severe weather.
Norwegian gas exports were down to 210 million cubic metres a day at 09:05 GMT, a 29% drop compared to Tuesday, when production was already down due to outages.