Ineos Claims “Force Majeure” on North Sea Oil Deliveries After Shutdown of Forties Pipeline

By Alf van Beem [CC0] via Wikimedia Commons

Ineos has confirmed that deliveries of crude from the company’s major North Sea pipeline are under force majeure after it closed down the entire system because of a cracked pipe.

Last week, the firm found a hairline crack in the pipe that is near Netherely, south of Aberdeen, and on Monday, it closed down the huge Forties pipeline system. It now anticipated the pipeline to be closed for “weeks rather than days.”

Ineos, which only lately bought the pipeline from BP, said that no further growth in the crack had been reported for 48 hours, allowing it to divide the precautionary safety cordon to 150m.

Ineos stated: “At this stage, it is still too early to say how long the repair will take to complete, but it is expected to be a matter of weeks rather than days.”  The company added that some repair options were being assessed and developed.

“We can confirm that formal force majeure has been declared on relevant contracts and we continue to work closely with our customers during this period, as well as local communities, government and other stakeholders.”

“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.”

The Forties pipeline system, which was created as one of the largest in the North Sea by BP in 1975, is around 100 miles long and transports an average of 450,000 barrels of oil per day, which is around 40 percent of UK production.

It transports oil from the North Sea that are to be processed at the Grangemouth refinery, which is also owned by Ineos.

Under force majeure, the contractual obligations of a company are suspended in the wake of situations that are beyond its control, and Reuters reported that it is very rare in the North Sea.