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Forties pipeline update: Ineos invokes force majeure

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World Pipelines,

The operator of the damaged Forties pipeline has invoked a force majeure clause that exempts it from obligations if there are causes beyond its control.

The Forties network has been closed since Monday, as Ineos assesses how to fix a recently discovered hairline crack in a section onshore, close to Aberdeen in Scotland.

The company, which bought the pipelines from energy company BP in October, expects it to be “a matter of weeks” before the crack is repaired.

The pipeline system carries about 450 000 bpd of Forties crude from more than 80 fields to the Kinneil processing terminal in Scotland. From there the oil is loaded on to tankers, stored or piped to the 200 000 bpd Grangemouth refinery, which is also owned by Ineos.

While the pipeline outage physically mostly affects the North Sea region, it is of global relevance as the crude it supplies is part of the supply that underpins the Brent price In the last 24 hours, a safety cordon around the damaged pipeline has been halved as a crack has not grown.

Ineos said the crack had not grown for 48 hours, so the safety cordon had been reduced to 150 m.

Residents who had chosen to leave as a result have now returned home.

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