asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether his Department is satisfied that good operating practices are now being employed on the Auk field, in view of the fact that separators on the Auk platform overheated during testing of oil flow rates exceeding 90,000 bpd.
We are satisfied that good operating practices are being employed on the Auk field. The separators did not overheat at 90,000 bpd. It was the inverse that happened; the oil leaving the hot reservoir rock did not cool down as rapidly when flowing to surface at high rates as when at low rates. At these higher temperatures, additional gas is liberated from the oil at surface within the separators. This loss of liquifyable element of hydrocarbon has been eliminated by adding oil coolers to the platform and gas coolers to the gas flare line.
asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether Shell has at any time reported to the Department escape of oil to the sea from the Auk field installations; and whether such reports were attributable to tanker loading operations, escapes via the flare stack or from any other source.
On 13th January 1976, Shell reported to the Department a spillage of an estimated 50 barrels of oil attributable to tanker loading operations. Successful clean-up operations were completed by a standby vessel within five hours.