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Equinor investigates oil spill at Statfjord North Sea field

By Terje Solsvik and Victoria Klesty

OSLO (Reuters) - Equinor is investigating an oil spill at its Statfjord field in the North Sea, although the Norwegian company said on Wednesday the incident had not disrupted production.

Loading was stopped and loading systems at the field were shut down after oil was spotted nearby and systems were mobilised to deal with such a situation, Equinor said.

"In connection with loading oil from buoy to shuttle tanker on the North Sea Statfjord field, oil was observed on the sea surface early this morning," Equinor said.

The buoy is located two kilometres from the nearest Statfjord platform so oil production is continuing as normal, Equinor spokesman Morten Eek said.

"We are always treating situations when we observe oil on the sea seriously ... It's still too early to say the extent of this leakage," Eek said.

Statfjord, which opened in 1979, is among the oldest fields still producing in the North Sea, and Equinor has said the first of its three platforms is due to close in 2022.

"In compliance with regular procedures Equinor's emergency response organisation was quickly mobilised, and the authorities were notified," Equinor said.

Statfjord is operated by state-controlled Equinor with a 44.3 percent stake, while ExxonMobil holds 21.4 percent and the rest is held by two units of Spirit Energy, data from Norway's Petroleum Directorate shows.

(Reporting by Terje Solsvik and Victoria Klesty; editing by Jason Neely, Jane Merriman and Alexander Smith)