Russian navy distrupts access to N.Sea oilfields

OSLO Tue Dec 11, 2007 8:17am EST

OSLO Nov 11 (Reuters) - Norwegian oil and gas producer StatoilHydro (STL.OL) has suspended helicopter flights to some of its main fields in the North Sea due to Russian navy exercises in nearby international waters, the company said on Tuesday.

StatoilHydro, one of Europe's biggest oil groups, said the disruptions would not affect production levels at the fields, including the Troll field -- the biggest production area of offshore Norway.

"We've halted helicopter traffic out of (western Norwegian coastal cities of) Bergen and Floroe," StatoilHydro spokesman Gisle Johanson said.

"We're doing this for safety reasons. We're removing risk with all this ongoing military aviation activity," he said.

"It's not affecting production."

Norway's military said a Russian aircraft carrier and two accompanying vessels were carrying out exercises near the heart of Norway's offshore oil and gas sector in the North Sea.

"A Russian military fleet is currently operating west of the Sognefjord, near the Gullfaks field," lieutenant colonel Jon Inge Oeglaend told Reuters.

(Reporting by Terje Solsvik; Writing by Wojciech Moskwa)

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