Removing light structures in 2007An end to shared cabins

Hurricane prompts evacuation

person by Kristin Øye Gjerde, Norwegian Petroleum Museum
The tail end of Hurricane Noel, which had caused massive damage and cost 163 lives in the Caribbean, was heading for the North Sea in early November 2007.
— "Closed due to bad weather". Photo: Jan A. Tjemsland/Norwegian Petroleum Museum
© Norsk Oljemuseum

Warnings began to be issued by the Norwegian Meteorological Institute on 6 November about the powerful winds on their way, combined with a high tide.

The low-pressure area building up looked like producing the strongest storm for 50 years, which was predicted to peak on 8-9 November.

People around the whole North Sea basin were being urged to take precautions against potential flooding and damage in the wake of this combination of wind and storm surge.

Warnings that waves could reach heights of 10-11 metres meant that many workers on the Ekofisk and Valhall fields had to evacuate the platforms.

As the respective operators, ConocoPhillips and BP applied the precautionary principle and initiated plans for moving personnel from the affected installations.

A total of 150 Valhall people were sent ashore, leaving just 30-40. On Ekofisk, 500 were transferred from the most vulnerable platforms. Seven of the 16 operational facilities were shut down – those most exposed to high waves.[REMOVE]Fotnote:, “Evakuering av ansatte på Ekofisk-feltet”, 6 November 2007.

When the storm struck, the strongest winds were out at sea. Surprisingly, their power helped to dampen down the waves and the platforms did not appear to have suffered serious damage.

Operations began to return to normal after the winds had started to ease on 9 November. The installations were inspected and prepared for production to resume. All went well this time, even if output was sharply reduced for several days.[REMOVE]Fotnote: NTB, “Snart normal drift i Nordsjøen”, 9 November 2007.

Viewed in a longer perspective, fears were expressed that global warming was starting to make itself felt. That could lead to stronger and more frequent storms, with the associated dangers and damage.[REMOVE]Fotnote:

Removing light structures in 2007An end to shared cabins
Published 18. September 2019   •   Updated 18. September 2019
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