The petroleum ministry said the country's export supply wouldn't be affected, however, since it has sufficient reserves. Norway is the world's third largest exporter of petroleum, behind Saudi Arabia and Russia.
Statoil would not say specifically when the Snorre A platform would be brought back on line, noting that any decision would have to be made after the gas leak is permanently contained.
The closure means the loss of 130,000 barrels of oil a day, along with 75,000 barrels a day from the nearby Vigdis field. Those 205,000 barrels account for about 6.4 percent of Norway's estimated 3.2 million barrels a day of production.
The Snorre A platform was shut down Sunday night after the gas leak resulted in the evacuation of 180 rig workers from the floating platform located northwest of the port city of Bergen. The leak was contained Monday, but efforts to permanently cap it have just begun.
On Tuesday, Statoil said it would begin injecting cement into the blown well hole, a move that would likely prevent more gas leaks.
"Personnel on the field are doing a formidable job to re-establish barriers in the well, but it is still too early to say when production will resume," said Statoil spokesman Oeivind Reinertsen. "There are still many demanding operations ahead of us."
Brokers said the problems at Snorre - combined with an unrelated outage at Marathon Oil Corp.'s Brae field on Monday - helped push crude future prices up on Tuesday.
Light, sweet crude for January delivery was down 49 cents to $49.27 a barrel in afternoon trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
1 December 2004
The Beaufort Gazette