Statoil will evacuate its workers from its Snorre B platform in the Snorre oil and gas field in the Norwegian Sea due to forecasts of hurricane-force winds.

The high winds and waves are expected to hit the North Sea on Friday.

Statoil plans to reduce the workforce at the Snorre B platform to 44 from the existing 109. In addition, between 150 and 200 people working at the Statfjord A, B, and C platforms will also be relocated to the Gullfaks field, as well as other platforms.

"The high winds and waves are expected to hit the North Sea on Friday."

Production is set to proceed as usual, the company said.

The Wall Street Journal quoted the company saying that 16 planned helicopter flights to North Sea platforms from western Bergen, Norway, would be also cancelled.

Two flights from western Floro will also be called off.

Snorre is an oil and gas field in the Tampen area in the southern part of the Norwegian Sea and has been operational since August 1992.

Last December, a large wave hit a drilling rig operating in the North Sea, killed one worker and injured two others. The rig’s accommodation module was also damaged due to strong waves.

The semi-submersible rig COSL Innovator was under contract to Statoil operating in the North Sea’s Troll field.