Shell Delaying Flexjoint Repairs on Mars TLP

Due to ongoing loop currents in the Mars Basin area of the Gulf of Mexico, Shell is delaying the flexjoint repairs to its Mars tension leg platform (TLP). Subject to appropriate regulatory approvals, Shell will first complete its flexjoint repairs at the Auger TLP. Auger is located in Garden Banks 426 in 2,860 feet of water.

The flexjoint repairs at Auger are expected to commence on or about June 1st, weather permitting, and take 10-14 days to complete. Production will be partially curtailed (60% boe remains on line) for part of the repair work period and completely shut in for the remainder. Shell has a 100% interest in the Auger platform itself and a 54% share of the total, gross production that flows through Auger, which includes subsea tiebacks. Current production is 85,000 barrels of oil and 195 million cubic feet of gas, per day.

Shell will continue to monitor the loop currents at Mars, located in Mississippi Canyon Block 807. Weather permitting; Shell expects it will be able to complete those repairs in the first half of July. The Mars flexjoint repairs will take an estimated 14 days to complete.

Shell is the operator of the Mars TLP with a 71.5 percent interest. BP has the remaining 28.5 percent interest in the project. Mars currently produces 140,000 barrels of oil and 156 million cubic feet of gas, per day.

Shell announced earlier this year its intent to make the Mars repairs beginning in mid-March, followed by the Auger repairs. In early March, Shell announced that the repairs would be delayed due to loop currents in the area of the Mars TLP.

Loop currents form when a portion of the Gulf Stream enters the Gulf of Mexico through the Yucatan Straits, flow north, and turn east and south to exit the Florida Straits forming a "loop." The loop current is a permanent oceanographic feature in the Gulf of Mexico and, at certain times of the year, can extend north far enough to impact deepwater lease blocks in the central Gulf of Mexico.

Inspections last summer of the remaining oil and gas export flexjoints, as well as all flowline flexjoints, on Shell's TLPs revealed no deterioration.