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Rescue Operation: 115 Oil Workers Airlifted From Platform

More than 100 workers were airlifted from the Thistle oil platform in the North Sea after an unspecified incident that followed a subsea inspection at the platform, the BBC reports.

The Thistle platform is operated by EnQuest, an energy independent based in London, which said in a statement, "EnQuest can confirm it has proactively down-manned the Thistle Platform today in a precautionary move following a preliminary subsea structural inspection today. The platform has been safely shut down in accordance with planned procedures. EnQuest is liaising with all relevant authorities including the Maritime and Coastguard Agency."

The incident that was not disclosed occurred sometime in the latter half of the day on Monday, with the British coastguard receiving a signal from the platform around 6:30 pm. The rescue operation involved two rescue planes and a helicopter from the Norwegian offshore sector to airlift the 115 personnel of the platform. They were transported to another platform in the vicinity.

EnQuest said the evacuation had been a precautionary measure and the platform was now safely shut down. The company also said it will release further information as it becomes available.

The company’s portfolio includes fields in the UK continental shelf and in Malaysia, with average daily production at over 68,000 bpd during the first half of the year. For full-2019, EnQuest expects average production rates of 63,000-70,000 bpd.

The Thistle field is Part of EnQuest’s Northern North Sea operations—a mature field the company acquired in 2009 and set to extend its productive life.

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EnQuest is one of a number of relatively small energy independents that flocked to the UK’s mature North Sea fields after the supermajors began to sell their assets there. Often backed by private equity capital, these independents stepped in on a bet that they could extend the productive life of these mature oil and gas resources.

Yet some of them have succeeded in launching new fields as well. For EnQuest, that was the Kraken, discovered in the mid-80s but only put into production in 2017. To date, the Kraken produces close to 32,800 bpd of heavy crude.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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