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Thursday, 15 June, 2000, 18:10 GMT 19:10 UK
Platform could be closed 'for weeks'
Grangemouth
The Grangemouth plant is also being investigated
The owners of a North Sea oil platform which was temporarily closed by health and safety officers say it will not be up and running for some weeks.

Prohibition notices were served on the North West Hutton installation which is operated by BP Amoco.

The move was made after inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive went on board the platform, 300 miles north east of Aberdeen, to investigate a gas leak.

While they were on board a second escape occurred.

NW Hutton
North West Hutton: Operated by BP Amoco
An HSE spokesman said emergency response procedures left "a lot to be desired".

No-one was injured in either of the incidents.

BP Amoco said the company was committed to safe operations and very much regretted that the incident occurred.

It added that production from North West Hutton will not resume until it is sure the cause of the problems have been identified and resolved.

The company's Grangemouth plant is currently under investigation after two incidents last week.

Task force

BP Amoco announced a task force would be set up to investigate the running of the refinery.

The oil giant says the task force will carry out a "root and branch" review of the site's equipment, operating systems and management processes.

Sixty firefighters took six hours to control a fire at the petrochemicals complex near Falkirk five days ago.

And just over a week ago, a high-pressure steam pipe broke, causing a loud blast and sending clouds of vapour billowing into the air.

The North West Hutton field was discovered in April 1975 and oil and gas found 3,500 metres below the seabed in a water depth of 144 metres.

Construction of the eight legged steel platform and 12 pre-fabricated modules began in 1980 and production got under way in 1983.

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See also:

12 Jun 00 | Scotland
BP launches refinery review
10 Jun 00 | Scotland
Fire prompts fresh safety calls
10 Jun 00 | Scotland
Second emergency at BP plant
09 Jun 00 | Scotland
Refinery blast cause revealed
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