Italian oil group Eni has announced its intention to restart extraction at the Goliat oilfield (pictured) in the Barents Sea in the next few days.
An Eni spokesperson said in early December: “We are currently completing pre-start-up checks… and will restart when these are complete. This will take a few days.”
Eni Norge, the Norwegian branch of Italy’s major Eni, holds a 65-per-cent stake and acts as operator of the Goliat field, while Norway’s Statoil controls the other 35 per cent. Production at the field, which is estimated to contain approximately 180 million barrels of oil, started in March last year.
Goliat became the first oil-producing field in the Barents Sea when it eventually opened after several years of delays.
The Italian company has been given the all-clear by the Norwegian Petroleum Authority (PSA) to reopen the 100,000-barrel-per-day Goliat oilfield.
The PSA in November gave Eni Norge until December 11 to explain how it would comply with the regulatory breaches at the Goliat FPSO platform that inspectors had identified.
Eni Norge had been reprimanded by Norway’s safety body in October for alleged “serious breaches” of regulations at the Goliat’s floating production and storage offloading vessel.
The PSA said that “until the order has been complied with to the PSA’s satisfaction, all production from the Goliat floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) unit must remain shut down”.
“A high-fault rate with the Ex integrity of the equipment was established through random sampling of reports from Ex inspections of electric motors incorporating an emergency stop arrangement. This also included equipment in hazardous areas,” the PSA reported on October 6.
The PSA carried out an audit on the site earlier this year.
The audit raised concerns about electrical safety, responsibility for the electrical installations, management and risk assessment of conditions related to ignition control.
Further improvements were required over hazards and accidents, planning and prioritisation, heating and cable installation. The PSA demanded further checks before Goliat was allowed to reopen.
Goliat has been taken offline several times before. In August 2016 production was offline for a month and work also stopped on August 26 this year due to gas detection in an unwanted area during a planned venting of gas as part of a maintenance operation.
Goliat. Picture credit: Flickr