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Investigation of emergency shutdown and acute oil spill on the Eldfisk complex

The PSA has completed its investigation into two undesirable incidents which occurred on the Eldfisk complex on 6-8 August 2014. Several breaches of the regulations have been identified.


The highest emergency shutdown level (yellow ESD – abandon platform) was initiated on the Eldfisk complex and Embla on the morning of 6 August 2014.

This caused total loss of power and all systems shut down on the Eldfisk A, Eldfisk FTP and Embla installations, while Eldfisk E lost main power.

The ESD was unplanned. Its direct cause was the technical failure of an electronic component combined with a design error.

When restarting production after the ESD, a blowdown valve remained in the open position. It should have been reset to the closed position as part of the start-up procedure. That caused produced oil to flow into the flare system, on into the drain system and from there to the sea.

At dawn on 7 August, oil was observed on the sea. Production was not shut down until 13.30 on 7 August, since the size of the oil slick was increasing. The oil spill is estimated to have been in the order of 50-70 m3.

The PSA’s investigation of the incident has identified several breaches of the regulations of a technical and operational character. Some of the technical nonconformities relate to Eldfisk FTP’s condition at the time of the incident. This facility has subsequently been shut down and now functions primarily as a bridge support.

The PSA has asked operator ConocoPhillips to describe how it intends to deal with the nonconformities. 

Eileen Brundtland, Press contact
Email: eileen.brundtland@ptil.no | +47 51 87 35 12