Output resumes at North Sea Eldfisk, Embla fields: ConocoPhillips

OSLO (Reuters) - Production at the Eldfisk and Embla oilfields in the North Sea has resumed, operator ConocoPhillips said on Sunday, following a shutdown on New Year’s Eve on concerns that the installations could be hit by a drifting barge.

The vessel had been drifting toward BP’s Valhall platform and ConocoPhillips’s Eldfisk and Embla, which lie in the middle of the North Sea between Norway and Britain, prompting staff evacuations.

ConocoPhillips’ Embla and Eldfisk fields are part of the Ekofisk crude oil stream, one of four North Sea crudes underpinning the global Brent oil benchmark.

The Ekofisk stream was scheduled to load about 258,000 barrels per day (bpd) in January, and the loading program for February is expected to be issued on Monday.

“We followed our procedures and started normalization after the barge passed Eldfisk Complex Dec. 31, and production was resumed according to these procedures,” a ConocoPhillips spokesman said in an email.

He did not say when output resumed or at what rates were the fields producing when they shut.

BP said on Thursday, after the barge had drifted passed Valhall, that it had started normalizing operations and that it usually took 24 hours to restart output after a complete shutdown.

Valhall, which is operated by BP and co-owned by Hess, was producing at a rate of about 50,000 barrels per day before it shut, BP has said.

Reporting by Gwladys Fouche, editing by William Hardy