Mars Tension Leg Platform Offline Longer Than Expected

Shell Exploration & Production Company announced that its Mars Tension Leg Platform, located in Mississippi Canyon 807 in the Gulf of Mexico, will be shut in for repairs longer than originally anticipated. Mars has been shut in since May 22 when Shell reported damage to the oil pipeline flexjoint after a small leak was discovered. Temporary repairs were originally anticipated to take two to three weeks.

However, during the inspection of the natural gas line, which was part of the process Shell implemented to ensure that its facility was ready for start up, signs of deterioration to the flexjoint on the gas export pipeline were observed.

"Our primary concerns are safety and mitigating environmental risk," said Frank Glaviano, Gulf of Mexico East Asset Manager. "Although the gas pipeline had not incurred a leak, based on the observed condition, we felt it prudent to also take the gas line out of service and repair its flexjoint in conjunction with the oil pipeline repair."

As Mars produces associated gas, production will only resume once both repairs are completed. Repairs necessary to restart production are now expected to take several more weeks. Prior to shutdown, Mars was producing 150,000 barrels of oil and 170 million cubic feet of gas per day.