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Total delays restart of North Sea gas fields after maintenance

Total SA, Europe's third-largest oil company, the world's fourth-largest oil and gas company and a world-class chemicals manufacturer, delayed the restart of the Elgin and Franklin natural-gas fields in the North Sea because of inspection work which is being carried out during maintenance. The Elgin and Franklin fields can produce as much as 220,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day, Total said. The two fields shut on July 28 for two weeks of planned maintenance, Jenny Costelloe, a Total spokeswoman said today. Inspection work is being carried out during the maintenance. „The fields are shut and will restart subject to inspection work,” Costelloe said by phone today from Aberdeen, Scotland. Total couldn't say when the fields are due to start. Maintenance of pipelines, compressors and North Sea fields is usually carried out during summer, when consumption wanes. Gas prices in the UK, Europe's biggest consumer of the fuel, have risen an average of 60% in the past year because the nation's power stations, factories and households have to import more gas to make up for dwindling supply from the North Sea. (Bloomberg)