Forties pipeline was shut down on Wednesday due to unexpected closure of the feed control valves.  Total photo.

Oil prices rose about 50 cents/barrel on news of Forties pipeline shutdown

The 450,000 barrels per day Forties pipeline, Britain’s largest oil and gas pipeline, had to be shut down for a second time in two months on Wednesday.

According to a report by Reuters, the most recent shutdown is raising concerns about the reliability of the pipeline which had to be closed in mid-December for over two weeks after a crack was detected.

Ineos, the operator of the pipeline says it hopes to bring the pipeline back online overnight.

The closure is due to an unexpected closure of the feed control valves on the line supplying the Kinneil gas processing plant, according to Ineos.

“When these valves close, then this requires FPS (Forties Pipeline System) to shut down the pipeline system and its customers in the North Sea,” it said.

The Forties pipeline is the largest of the five North Sea crude grades which underpin dated Brent crude. The system also transports about one-third of all Britain’s offshore natural gas output.

Following the closure, oil prices rose by about 50 cents, but the gains later receded.  British wholesale prices for gas for immediate delivery were up 6 per cent after the closure was reported.

The pipeline closure forced the shutdown of production on Shell’s Shearwater platform in the North Sea and Total’s gas exports from its Elgin Franklin terminal.