Oslo - An oil tanker and a Norwegian navy frigate collided off Norway’s west coast on Thursday, injuring eight people and triggering the temporary shutdown of a North Sea crude export terminal, Norway’s top gas processing plant and several offshore fields.
The frigate, which recently took part in a major NATO military exercise, was aground and tilting on one side, live television pictures showed. The Norwegian military was attempting to save the ship.
“We are working on stabilizing the vessel,” Norwegian Navy Counter-Admiral Nils Andreas Stensoenes told a news conference, adding that the eight injured were all Navy crew. Some 137 crew were on board at the time of the accident. “We are very glad that no lives got lost and that the injuries are not more serious than they are,” he added.
Police and the national Accident Investigation Board were investigating the accident, which took place at 0326 GMT. The tanker had left Equinor’s Sture oil shipment terminal with a cargo of crude, and the facility was shut for several hours on Thursday as a result. The Kollsnes gas plant, with a processing capacity of 144.5 million cubic meters per day, was also shut for several hours. Both the Sture terminal and the Kollsnes plant were restarting on Thursday afternoon, Equinor said in a statement.
Kollsnes processes gas from the Troll, Kvitebjoern and Visund fields for Britain and the rest of Europe. The Troll A platform was also restarting operations after its earlier temporary shutdown, Equinor said. UK wholesale gas prices were up ahead of news of the incident and increased further afterwards. Gas for immediate delivery was up 6.2 percent at 66.50 pence per therm at 1136 GMT.
Norway is a major supplier of gas to Britain so big outages can impact UK gas prices. Flows from Norway to Britain were down by 14-15 million cubic meters due to the Kollsnes outage. “Norwegian outages due to the collision have prompted extra buying. The market was already quite bullish due to lower temperatures,” a British gas trader said.