DUBAI, March 3 (Reuters) - The UK Brent oil pipeline system remained shut on Sunday as the operator of the Cormorant Alpha platform in the North Sea investigated a leak of hydrocarbons into one of the platform’s legs, the operator said.
The closure, the second time the system has been closed in seven weeks, started on Saturday after the leak was found at the 10,000 barrel per day (bpd) platform and the 80,000 bpd Brent pipeline system was shut as a precaution.
TAQA had shut the Brent pipeline system for a few days in mid January after discovering an oil leak in one of Cormorant Alpha’s legs. The weekday closure supported global oil prices because Brent is one of the four North Sea oils used as a benchmark to price oil around the world.
A spokesman for the platform’s operator, Abu Dhabi-based TAQA, gave no indication of when the Brent system or platform connected to it might re-open.
“The release remained within the platform leg and no hydrocarbons entered the environment,” Abu Dhabi National Energy Co (TAQA) said in a statement on its website.
“TAQA personnel are addressing the situation on Cormorant Alpha and are working with partners to have the Brent pipeline system operational as soon as possible,” it added.
TAQA said 71 non-essential personnel were evacuated from the platform on Saturday but there were no injuries to any workers.
The Brent system is jointly owned by 21 companies. It consists of part of the processing systems and structure on the Cormorant Alpha platform, operated by TAQA, as well as a pipeline connecting Cormorant Alpha to the BP -operated Sullom Voe Oil Terminal in the Shetland Islands.
Brent crude last traded Friday at $110.40 a barrel. The market is closed on Saturday and Sunday.
Cormorant Alpha also handles oil from the Dunlin, Thistle, Northern producer, Murchison, North Alwyn, Tern, Eider and North Cormorant Platforms.