MOSCOW (MRC) -- Repairing Britain's Forties crude oil pipeline in the North Sea is still expected to take two to four weeks, operator Ineos said on Monday, as assessment continues a week after it was closed down, reported Reuters.
The system, which carries around 450,000 bpd of Forties crude to Britain, along with a third of the UK's total offshore natural gas output, has been closed since last Monday after a routine inspection revealed a crack in an onshore section of the pipe.
"We are currently monitoring the pipeline and working through some of the solutions for repair," spokesman Richard Longden said, adding the crack had not grown in the last week.
Ineos on Dec 13 was forced to declare force majeure on deliveries of Forties crude oil, natural gas and condensate, suspending its contractual obligations to customers due to circumstances beyond its control.
The privately-owned chemicals company based in Switzerland bought the pipeline system from BP in late October.
It has told clients it expects any repair work to take between two and four weeks, an estimate that has not changed in the last week.
Forties is the biggest of the five North Sea crudes that underpin Brent, a benchmark for oil trading in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
Brent crude oil futures were up around 0.25% on the day at USD63.39/bbl by 1132 GMT, having touched USD65 following the outage last week, the highest since mid-2015.
As MRC informed before, Ineos Group Ltd. is considering expansion of its plants in USA to take advantage of low-cost natural-gas liquids as feedstock for ethylene production. The company is likely to add 250 mln-1 bln lbs of annual ethylene production at its Chocolate Bayou site south of Houston, Dennis Seith, chief executive officer of the company’s U.S. olefins and polymers unit, said in March 2016. Additional polypropylene and alpha-olefins capacity may be added at the site.