Talisman, SBM differ on safety of Norway oil platform

Wed Oct 10, 2012 10:43am EDT
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By Nerijus Adomaitis and Anthony Deutsch

OSLO/AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Norway's evacuated Yme oil platform is safe, its constructor Dutch SBM Offshore SBMO.AS said on Wednesday, rebuffing calls from the operator of the facility, Canada's Talisman TLM.N, to repair it urgently.

The two companies have been in dispute over the platform's use since Talisman withdrew all personnel from there in July, warning it was at risk of collapsing this winter.

The problems at Yme led SBM Offshore and Talisman to take hundreds of millions of euros in impairment charges this year, driving down profits and prompting management shake ups.

"I don't want to speculate whether it would collapse or not collapse, but our assessment is that the structure is not safe in its present state," Talisman spokesman Vidar Nedreboe told Reuters on Tuesday.

"We need SBM to execute the minimum repair asap," he said, adding Talisman's view was that repairs had to be made by February at the latest.

In July, Talisman warned the Norway's Petroleum Safety Authority that Yme faced a "structural collapse" due to the risk of cracks forming in the platform's legs.

Nedreboe said Talisman had identified the minimum repairs needed for the platform to survive the winter, but added it was up to SBM carry them out. "This is SBM's platform. SBM has to fix it," he added.

But SBM Offshore told Reuters on Wednesday the platform "was safe", citing the company's preliminary findings of its checks.   Continued...