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Lloyds List: Shell to begin life on Mars after respite in ocean conditions ( 10 May 05


Martyn Wingrove

May 10, 2005


SHELL is set to begin repairing flexjoints on its oil and gas risers on its Gulf of Mexico tension-leg platforms in June, three months behind schedule because of ocean conditions.


Shell Exploration ' Production Co has been forced to delay repair work on the Mars TLP because of strong loop currents in the region, but is hoping to start work on the Auger TLP instead in June.


Loop currents, caused by the Gulf Stream whipping around the area, have been particularly strong in the Mars basin in the Mississippi Canyon area this year, delaying repairs to the oil and gas export risers in the Mars TLP.


So Shell is planning to repair the flexjoints on the Auger TLP in Garden Banks block 426 instead, closing down production through the platform for half of June.


'In May last year we found damage to oil export flexjoints on Mars and investigated our other TLPs,' said a spokesman for Shell.


'We found deterioration on Auger's oil export line. Because of the loop currents we are first going to complete repairs at Auger.'


Weather permitting, the repairs should take between 10-14 days and output of 85,000 barrels of oil and 195m cu ft of gas per day will be closed down during some of this time.


If the Gulf Stream currents looping around the Gulf of Mexico become weaker then Shell is hoping to repair flexjoints on the Mars TLP in Mississippi Canyon block 807 in July.


This could take up to 14 days to complete and cause a shutdown in production. The Mars platform is currently producing 140,000 barrels of oil and 156m cu ft of gas a day.


Inspection last summer of the risers leading to Shell's other TLPs in the Gulf of Mexico found no problem with other flexjoints on export lines and flowlines on the Ursa, Ram Powell and Brutus platforms.


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