January 16, 2013 / 4:53 PM / in 5 years

CORRECTED-UPDATE 2-Antrim's oilfields shut after leak in UK Brent pipeline system

(Corrects paragraph 8 to say oil prices hit a high of $110.84, not $111)

* Production halted at Causeway, Cormorant East fields

* Analyst estimates production could be halted by a week

* Antrim shares fall as much as 4 percent

By Krithika Krishnamurthy

Jan 16 (Reuters) - Antrim Energy Inc said production was halted at its only producing oilfields in the North Sea following a leak in an oil pumping station that is part of Britain’s North Sea Brent pipeline system, sending its shares down 4 percent.

The leak at one of the legs of the Cormorant Alpha platform, operated by Abu Dhabi oil company Taqa, has disrupted production at more than 20 oilfields in the northern North Sea, Antrim said.

Antrim said production was stopped at the Causeway field and the Cormorant East field and that all pipeline infrastructure associated with the Cormorant Alpha platform was shut in.

Analyst Ryan Galloway of Casimir Capital Ltd said production at the two oilfields could be down for at least a week.

Calgary-based Antrim has a 35.5 percent stake in the Causeway field, which produced an average of 4,800 barrels of oil per day (bpd) in November. Britain’s Valiant Petroleum Plc owns the rest of the field and operates it.

Antrim owns 8.4 percent of the Cormorant East field, which started production on Monday with an initial rate of about 5,500 bpd. Taqa owns 60 percent of the field and operates it, while First Oil Expro and Granby Enterprises Ltd are the other stakeholders.

“The impact on Antrim could really be quite minor and what I‘m reading appears to be minor, but we don’t know...” said analyst Bill Newman of Mackie Research Capital.

Taqa said it shut down all pipeline infrastructure running through the Cormorant Alpha platform, and that it had no restart date, sending crude oil prices surging to $110.84 a barrel on Wednesday.

At $110 per barrel, the lost production is worth about $10 million per day, said Mike Tholen, economics director at Oil & Gas UK, a trade association for the offshore oil and gas industry. (link.reuters.com/den35t)

He estimated that oil produced from the affected fields accounts for about 10 percent of UK’s production of 1 million barrels per day.

Shell UK said the shutdown has not had any direct impact on its Brent Field installations.

Antrim currently seeks joint venture partners and financing for its development projects in Fyne field in central North Sea. It expects to begin oil production from the field in the fourth quarter of 2014.

Antrim also has an options agreement for assets in Tanzania and Ireland.

Shares of Antrim, valued at about C$103 million, were at a two-week low of 54 Canadian cents on Wednesday morning. They have lost nearly a third of their value over the last three months but is trading at about two times the analysts’ earnings expectations for fiscal 2013, according to Thomson Reuters data.

It’s London-listed shares closed down 5 percent at 35 pence. (Editing by Don Sebastian)

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