Shell to Shut Down Mars TLP for Repairs

Shell Exploration & Production will shut down the Mars tension leg platform (TLP) on November 4, 2004 to replace the flexjoints on both its oil and natural gas export lines. It is expected that this operation should take approximately two weeks.

The Mars TLP, located in Mississippi Canyon Block 807 in the Gulf of Mexico, was initially shut in on May 22 of this 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, so a decision was made to make temporary repairs to both lines while the flexjoints were refurbished. Production resumed at Mars on June 28. At that time, it was stated that the platform would be shut down again for installation of the repaired flexjoints.

"Although the flexjoints should be ready for installation in September, we made the decision to delay the operation until early November for logistical reasons," said Frank Glaviano, Gulf of Mexico East Asset Manager. "We feel that the weather conditions at that time will be more conducive to efficiently and safely completing the operations at that time."

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