Shell Brent Charlie Platform Shut-In Since July - Regulator

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SOURCE Dow Jones Newswires | 14 September 2011

LONDON -(Dow Jones)- The U.K. offshore regulator issued Royal Dutch Shell PLC with two warnings in July for safety incidents at its aged Brent Charlie platform in the North Sea, the Health and Safety Executive website showed Wednesday.

One of the warnings is a more serious prohibition notice, which indicates there is an elevated risk of injury, while the other is an improvement notice, which gives an operator a period of time to correct a potential risk.

"A prohibition notice was served on Shell July 1 over hydrocarbon release issues on the Brent C platform. The platform is currently 'shut in', which means it has complied with the prohibition notice ordering activity to stop," an HSE spokesperson told Dow Jones Newswires.

The 35-year-old platform is located 145 kilometers north east of the Shetland Island of Unst. Production on the Brent field has continued to decline in recent years and many of the aging installations are due to be decomissioned in a few years. From 2000 to 2010, production on the whole Brent oil field dropped 91%.

The Brent field has four large platforms, Alpha, Bravo, Charlie and Delta.

A Shell spokesman said: "Safety is Shell's top priority. A power failure at the end of June, which we believe led to oil entering part of a platform leg, resulted in these HSE notices being issued. Shell continues to progress work on Brent Charlie, and production will not resume until all necessary work is complete. We are currently working towards a restart date of early 2012."

By Alexis Flynn and James Herron, Dow Jones Newswires

09-14-11 0924ET

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