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THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Shell Shuts Down Brent Alpha Gas Output Over Leak ( Posted 16 April 05




LONDON -- The Royal Dutch/Shell group of companies (RD, SC) has shut down its Brent Alpha platform in the northern North Sea after discovering pinhole leaks in pipework relating to the platform's flaring system, a Shell spokesperson told Dow Jones Friday.


She said that production was shut down Wednesday.


"The leak, which is at deck level, has been isolated and there is no danger to platform personnel," she said, adding that the platform hadn't been evacuated.


"A dedicated team is addressing the issue with the aim of restoring production as soon as possible," she said.


Shell estimates that around 6 million cubic meters of gas a day are being deferred from the platform's northern and western legs as a result of the shutdown, while 2.5 mcm/d are being deferred from the Brent Alpha platform itself.


The leak has shutdown a total of 8.5mcm, which flows into the St. Fergus terminal in Scotland.


Shell also said that "a minimal amount of oil" produced at the Alpha field was affected by the leak.


"Word is they will get it up and running again this weekend," Jake Molloy, General Secretary of the Offshore Industry Liaison Committee told Dow Jones Newswires.


"Nobody was hurt. There was no evacuation."


A trader at a major gas producer said news of the leakage had helped push prices higher. "34 pence a therm is not the usual price" for gas, he said. Within-day traded at 34.95 pence a therm, up more than 1 pence from Thursday's close.


-By Norval Scott, Dow Jones Newswires; +44-20-7842-9344;


(Alex Macdonald in London also contributed to this story.)


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