OSLO, Dec 19 (Reuters) - Production at major North Sea field Gullfaks will be lower than normal again in 2012, Norway’s Statoil said on Monday, repeating previous guidance and adding it had reopened some wells that had been closed due to safety concerns.
Output at the field has been curtailed throughout 2011 and for several months in 2010 after the firm had to shut 50 out of 178 wells over safety concerns.
The company said on Monday that 20 of the 50 shut wells have been restarted. Production, it added, has seen “positive development” and was “on its way to what it was before”.
No precise numbers were given.
The partial shutdown caused Statoil earlier this year to cut its guidance for 2011’s overall production. The firm has said it expects output this year to be slightly below 2010’s 1.9 million barrels or oil equivalent per day.
Gullfaks is the fourth-largest oil discovery ever made off Norway, the world’s eighth-largest oil exporter, with an estimated 2.3 billion barrels in reserves.
The field is expected to produce 137,000 barrels per day in January, up from 110,000 barrels in December and 85,500 in November, according to loading schedules provided by trade sources.
The partners in Gullfaks are Statoil, with 70 percent, and Norwegian state-owned firm Petoro, with 30 percent. (Reporting by Gwladys Fouche and Joachim Dagenborg)