Shell Provides Mars TLP Production Update

Shell Exploration & Production Company reports that the Mars Tension Leg Platform (TLP), which was heavily damaged during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, is currently producing 190,000 barrels (gross) of oil equivalent per day, which is a 20 percent increase over pre-Katrina rates. As announced on May 22, the Mars TLP resumed production ahead of schedule and was producing slightly above its pre-Katrina rates in July.

Estimates placed the Mars platform in Katrina's eye for about four hours, absorbing 80-foot waves and wind gusts exceeding 200 mph. The Mars TLP floating structure and wells survived the extreme Katrina weather conditions, but the platform drilling rig and some major elements of the topsides production equipment were heavily damaged.

"Many of the talented individuals who have restored this important asset were dealing with their own personal recovery, yet they never wavered in their commitment to help Shell restore its operations and increase America's energy production," said Marvin Odum, Executive Vice President, EP Americas.

In repairing Mars, Shell accomplished work unprecedented in the oil and gas industry. It took three months of preparation and planning to successfully lift and remove the damaged Mars platform rig in two pieces from its awkward, toppled position on the platform deck. Lifting the toppled drilling rig structure was an industry first. It takes a major engineering feat to lift a 670 ton tangled steel structure from a web of knotted facilities and processing equipment. Another first was repairing the oil and gas pipelines 3,000 feet below the water's surface, utilizing the Shell Deepwater Repair Kit. Being able to repair the pipelines on the seafloor meant repairs were finished much earlier than using a traditional method.

Repairing the platform involved a workforce of 500 people and represented more than one million man-hours. During this time there were no recordable injuries.