INEOS FPS has said that it has responded to requests from customers and delayed its planned summer shut down of the Forties Pipeline System in the UK North Sea.
The pipeline system, the largest pipeline system in the UK North Sea - opened in 1975 - transports crude oil and gas liquids from offshore and onshore entry points, processes the liquids at Kinneil and redelivers to the customer Forties Blend crude oil at Hound Point and either raw gas or fractionated gas products at Grangemouth.
"The decision has been taken in the face of the growing Corona Virus pandemic and the need to avoid bringing together large numbers of people INEOS will continue to work with our Government and customers to provide more information as soon as is practical," the company said Tuesday.
The Forties Pipeline System summer shutdown was planned for June 16th, 2020. However, INEOS now says the shutdown will not now start before August 2020 at the earliest.
"INEOS is also mindful of the benefits of completing this project work to the future operation of FPS and the risks of not going ahead. However, it recognizes the importance of maintaining a flow of oil and gas through FPS during the current situation. The company found that there was an overwhelming desire to delay the shutdown by its customers which it is responding to," the company owned by British billionaire James Ratcliffe said.
"In the coming days INEOS will continue to have discussions with its customers and other stakeholders to define the best dates to plan these projects," it added
INEOS, which bought the pipeline system in 2017 from BP, last year said it would invest £500 million to prolong the life of the pipeline system that transports 40% of the UK’s Oil & Gas from North Sea Oil & Gas platforms to the mainland.
This investment is expected to prolong the life of FPS by at least 20 years supporting North Sea production into the 2040s. The pipeline system can transport up to 600,000 barrels of North Sea oil onshore for refining every day.