* Norway's biggest gas field back up after short outage
* Gas flows to UK via Langaled link inch higher after drop
(Recasts with ramp-up completed, details)
By Wojciech Moskwa and Daniel Fineren
OSLO/LONDON, Jan 7 Gas production returned to
normal levels at Troll, Norway's biggest field, and operator
Statoil described the supplies as "secure and reliable" after a
several hour stoppage stoked alarm in Britain on Thursday.
Norwegian oil and gas producer Statoil said the ramp-up of
gas production at Troll was completed in the afternoon hours
after the field's A platform was shut for about two hours from
about 0815 GMT on Thursday.
"Let me stress that Troll supplies are secure and reliable,"
Statoil spokesman Gisle Johanson said. "Troll is back up to
Troll, which can supply more than 10 percent of Britain's
peak winter gas demand, as well as ship heating fuel to
continental Europe, also shut because of a leak on Sunday,
contributing to a surge in gas prices as freezing weather
gripped northern Europe. [ID:nNWLA1862]
Johanson said the two outages were not related, as some gas
market traders had suspected amid run-away speculation about the
impact of any longer-term problems at Troll given Britain's
record gas demand during the ongoing cold spell.
"It is unfortunate that these incidents happened one just
after another. As always, we are doing our best to avoid similar
situations in the future," Johanson said of the Troll outages.
Thursday's shutdown came as freezing temperatures have
driven British gas demand to record highs, testing the country's
gas supplies all week and triggering two rare gas supply alerts.
Data from UK gas network operator National Grid showed input
from Norway via the Langeled pipeline dived from about 70
million cubic metres to 25 mcm/day at around 1110 GMT on
Thursday, three hours after the shutdown, leaving the network
short of gas and driving up spot prices in Europe's biggest gas
market. At 1712 GMT flows rose to around 35 mcm/day.
Discovered in 1979, Troll still has an estimated 995 billion
standard cubic metres of recoverable gas reserves after early
production focused on oil.
Statoil has a 30.6 percent stake in Troll and is the field
operator. Norway's state-owned Petoro has 56 percent, Shell
(RDSa.L) has 8.1 percent, France's Total (TOTF.PA) 3.7 percent
and U.S> ConocoPhillips (COP.N) 1.6 percent.
(Additional reporting by Kwok W. Wan, editing by Keiron