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UK Forties pipeline system: “small” leak found

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World Pipelines,

The Forties pipeline saw disrupted flows yesterday after officials spotted a “seepage” onshore.

The leak was detected near Netherley on Wednesday morning during routine maintenance.

The pipeline carries crude North Sea oil across land for processing at Grangemouth.

The pipeline's owner, Ineos, said a very small quantity of oil was seeping out and added that there had been no environmental impact. Some local people were moved to temporary accommodation.

"Ineos has mobilised a repair and oil spill response team following the identification of a very small amount of oil seepage during a routine inspection of the Forties Pipeline System at Red Moss, near Netherley, Aberdeenshire,” an official statement read.

"A small number of local residents within this area have been advised to temporarily relocate," it added. "We will work to resolve the issue and monitor the situation. We apologise for any inconvenience caused."

The spill is not severe, with just a few drops leaking from the pipeline every minute. There is no “contamination issue” at this point due to its early detection during scheduled maintenance.

It is understood that Ineos lowered the pressure in the pipeline after identifying the leak, but did not have to shut it down.

Forties carries almost 40% of the UK’s North Sea oil and gas output.

Ineos also said flaring has been taking place at the Kinneil terminal as the company works to start-up operations following a glitch. INEOS agreed to acquire the Forties Pipeline System and associated pipelines and facilities from BP back in April 2017. The 235 mile Forties pipeline system links 85 North Sea oil and gas assets to the UK mainland and the INEOS site in Grangemouth in Scotland.

Under the terms of the agreement INEOS paid BP a consideration of up to US$250 million for the business, comprising a cash payment of US$125 million on completion and an earn-out arrangement over seven years that could total US$125 million.

On completion of the deal the ownership and operation of FPS, the Kinneil terminal and gas processing plant, the Dalmeny terminal, sites at Aberdeen, the Forties Unity Platform and associated infrastructure were transferred to INEOS. These assets transferred as fully operational units.

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