Grangemouth refinery operator Ineos said it has partially re-started its Kinneil facility following the dramatic shut down of its crucial North Sea Forties Pipeline and the Kinneil plant.
Ineos said on December 11 it shut down its Forties Pipeline System, which delivers almost 40% of the UK’s North Sea oil and gas output, to repair a crack in the pipe just south of Aberdeen.
In its latest statement on repairs, Ineos said: “Ineos has partially re-started the Kinneil facility.
“Flows through the pipeline and Kinneil will be increased gradually as we prove the system.
“There is currently increased flaring at the site as we begin to progressively and safely bring the different streams on-line.
“Ineos will complete this work as quickly as possible but safety is the highest priority.”
Following the shut down, Ineos declared “force majeure” on all shipments of crude oil, natural gas and condensates through the Forties system that has shut off vital energy supplies to the UK.
Force majeure, which suspends a company’s contractual obligations in the wake of situations that lie beyond its control, is rare in the North Sea.
In its latest statement, Ineos added: “Ineos continues to make good progress towards the restart of the Forties Pipeline System..
“The repair of the pipeline at Red Moss is now mechanically complete and pressure testing is well underway.
“A small number of customers are now sending oil and gas through the pipeline at reduced rates as part of a coordinated plan that allows INEOS to carefully control the flow and pressure in the system …
“Based on current estimates the company expects to bring the pipeline and Kinneil progressively back to normal rates early in the new year.
“Ineos has worked with the Emergency Services, relevant authorities and regulators as it has implemented the code compliant repairs on the FPS pipeline.
“It is expected that the precautionary safety cordon will remain at 150m whilst pressure testing continues.
“For the time-being the unclassified CK12 Netherley to Cookney road, which passes close to the site remains closed by the police and all non-essential drivers are being requested to seek alternative routes to ensure that the road remains clear for essential works.
“We apologise to our customers and the local community for the issues that this creates and we are working hard to minimise the impact of the pipeline closure as far as possible.”