Shell Updates Schedule for Mars and Auger Flexjoint Repairs

Mars Field
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As previously announced, Shell plans to shut down its Mars tension leg platform (TLP) late in the first quarter of 2005 to replace the flexjoints on both its oil and natural gas export lines. Specifically, the repairs will commence on or around March 17, weather permitting, and will take an estimated 14 days to complete.

The Mars TLP, located in Mississippi Canyon Block 807 in the Gulf of Mexico, was initially shut in on May 22 last year when Shell discovered damage to the oil pipeline flexjoint. Subsequent inspections of the natural gas line showed signs of deterioration on its flexjoint as well. A decision was made to make temporary repairs to both lines while the flexjoints were refurbished. Production resumed at Mars on June 28. On November 1, Shell announced it would complete the permanent replacements late in the first quarter of 2005.

Shell is the operator of the Mars TLP with a 71.5 percent interest. BP has the remaining 28.5 percent interest in project.

Inspections of other TLP flexjoints last year revealed deterioration of the flexjoint in the oil export line on the Auger TLP. While the deterioration was not significant enough to impact the short-term operational integrity of the line, it was decided to complete a replacement during the 2nd quarter of 2005 in conjunction with other planned work on the platform. That work is now expected to begin in late May and will take 10 to 14 days to complete.

Auger is located in Garden Banks 426 in 2,860 feet of water. Shell has a 100% interest in the Auger platform and is the operator.

Mars currently produces 150,000 barrels of oil and 160 million cubic feet of gas, per day. Auger current production is 75,000 barrels of oil and 180 million cubic feet of gas, per day. Inspections of the remaining oil and gas export flexjoints, as well as all flowline flexjoints, on Shell's TLP's revealed no deterioration.

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