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Eni's Arctic Goliat oil field hit with more safety reprimands

London — Norway's Petroleum Safety Authority Friday issued the latest in a series of warnings to Italy's Eni over problems at the pioneering but trouble-prone Goliat project in the Barents Sea.

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Goliat, the country's northern-most producing oil field, has produced barely two thirds of its intended 110,000 b/d capacity since coming on stream in 2016 and been forced by the authorities to shut down a number of times. Located 85 km (53 miles) north of the mainland, it features an unusual cylindrical floating platform for operations and oil storage.

The problems illustrate the difficulties Norway has had expanding its oil industry into the Barents Sea as it tries to offset declines in conventional North Sea production. Norwegian output of both oil and natural gas has fallen short of expectations this year due to technical problems at several platforms as well as a lack of development drilling.

Eni decided last month to hive off its Norwegian assets, which together produce over 100,000 b/d of oil equivalent, into a standalone venture with private equity-backed Point Resources, to be known as Var Energi (Our Energy). The venture is meant to produce 250,000 boe/d by 2023.

The Petroleum Safety Authority issued two reports on Goliat this week, one relating to the floating facility and the other to drilling from the Transocean rig Songa Enabler.

The reports detailed "non-conformities" at both facilities, relating to emergency preparedness, training and procedures, and demanded responses by September 21.

Goliat produces a medium crude with an API of 32, shipped directly to markets in northwest Europe by shuttle tanker.

Eni holds a 65% stake in Goliat, with state-controlled Equinor (formerly Statoil) on 35%.

--Nick Coleman, nick.coleman@spglobal.com

--Edited by Jonathan Dart, jonathan.dart@spglobal.com