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Equinor to shut down Heimdal platform after incident

OSLO (Reuters) - Norwegian oil and gas firm Equinor <EQNR.OL> said on Friday it would start a controlled shutdown of its offshore Heimdal platform after two people were injured the previous day.

The people, a man, 22, and a woman, 19, were airlifted to a hospital after sustaining injuries when a portable nitrogen gas container exploded on board of platform, the company said.

There were 70 people on board of the platform when the incident occurred, it added.

Arne Sigve Nylund, Equinor's head of Norwegian operations, said in a statement that a controlled production shutdown was planned to ensure proper follow-up of personnel on board the platform.

Heimdal mainly serves as a processing centre for some of the surrounding fields, including Equinor's Valemon, and a gas transportation hub. Vesterled pipeline, which takes Norwegian gas to UK's St Fergus terminal, starts at Heimdal.

The company was not immediately available to comment on how long Heimdal's shutdown could last. Norway's offshore gas system operator Gassco did not provide any information on the potential impact on gas exports.

The company said it was too early to specify the cause of the incident, with both police and the industry's safety watchdog starting investigations.

(Reporting by Nerijus Adomaitis, editing by Louise Heavens)