UK Forties oil pipeline shut, INEOS says mulling repair options

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LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's Forties crude oil pipeline remain closed on Wednesday and the operator INEOS said it was considering several options to repair a crack that has stopped shipments of oil and gas.

INEOS said any work would likely take several weeks.

The pipeline, which carries about 450,000 barrels per day (bpd) of Forties crude, was shut on Monday after a routine inspection revealed the crack in the pipeline south of Aberdeen.

INEOS had told clients late on Tuesday it believed the work would take no less than two weeks to complete.

"A number of repair options are currently being considered and progressed. At this stage, it is still too early to say how quickly the repair will take at this point but it is expected to be a matter of weeks rather than days," INEOS said on Wednesday.

UK natural gas prices have surged to their highest since 2013 since the closure of the pipeline that carries roughly a third of the country's offshore gas production.

Oil prices briefly touched their highest since mid-2015 around $65 a barrel following the shutdown, which has cut off supply of the largest North Sea crude stream.

(Reporting by Amanda Cooper; Editing by Edmund Blair)

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