8 Nov 2012

Norway platform personnel being evacuated

6:36 am on 8 November 2012

About 300 oil field personnel are being evacuated from a offshore platform off the coast of Norway after it began listing.

The Floatel Superior, a platform on the Njord hydrocarbon field in the Norwegian Sea, began listing early on Wednesday morning due to a problem with a ballast, which controls buoyancy and stability.

Statoil said the platform was stabilised later, but the company had decided to evacuate its staff as a precaution.

"We normally have two levels of protection against leaks, and since there was just one left, we decided to evacuate non-essential personnel for security," spokesman Ola Anders Skauby told AFP.

The Floatel Superior is used as sleeping quarters for personnel working on the Njord oil field, west of the city of Trondheim.

So far 60 of the 374 people onboard Floatel Superior have been flown to land by helicopter.

Statoil said the platform was listing three to four degrees. Initial reports suggested that an anchor had damaged a ballast tank, .