Norwegian authorities put stop to drilling in Barents Sea

Publish date: February 21, 2005

The Norwegian Petroleum Safety Authority has demanded a stop to all exploration drilling in the Barents Sea after the "Eirik Raude" drilling rig accidentally dropped waste water and chemical substances to sea.

The authority now wants the owner of the rig, the Ocean Rig Company, to go through all safety routines before drilling can be resumed. On February 8, 6 cubic meters of so-called BOP-substances were dropped to sea, and on February 16, 4 cubic meters of drilling waste water ran into the sea after a technical disorder. Head of the Petroleum Safety Authority, Magne Ognedal, says the incidents do not pose a threat to ecology in the region, but that the pollution still is considered a serious violation of regulations, daily Dagens Naeringsliv reported.