October 25, 2017 / 10:45 AM / 8 months ago

Safety watchdog to investigate Statoil refinery leak

OSLO (Reuters) - Norway’s Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA) will investigate a naphtha leak that halted output from Statoil’s Mongstad refinery, the watchdog said on Wednesday.

FILE PHOTO: Norwegian oil company's Statoil logo is seen at their headquarters in Fornebu, Norway, June 1, 2017. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins/File Photo

Tuesday’s leak caused a temporary evacuation of the 240,000 barrel per day refinery on Norway’s western coast, which processes crude oil from offshore fields, including Troll.

Statoil’s largest refinery remained partly shut on Wednesday, and it was unclear when it could return to normal operations.

“The gasoline production is partly down... We have no estimation on when we will be back,” a company spokeswoman said.

Statoil was still working to establish a cause of the leak in the cracker, she added.

Other parts of the refinery were not affected, the spokeswoman said, declining to give details about running operations.

Gasoline and naphtha account for about 40 percent of Mongstad’s output, according to the company’s annual reports.

A year ago, a high-pressure hydrogen-rich gas leaked at Mongstad after a corroded pipe socket broke, also prompting an investigation by the PSA.

Statoil’s own investigation concluded that wrong prioritization of maintenance was a root cause of the incident, which could have been fatal.

Reporting by Nerijus Adomaitis, editing by Terje Solsvik and Adrian Croft

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