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Deepwater Mars Platform to Resume Partial Production by Mid-Year

Royal Dutch Shell, the largest operator in the Gulf of Mexico, expects some of the output from its deepwater Mars platform to resume by mid-year, with full ramp up in the second half of 2006. The platform, which produces about 4% of Shell's total Gulf output, was extensively damaged following Hurricane Katrina last fall.

Mars, which is connected to the Mississippi Canyon pipeline, was producing 150-170 MMcf/d of natural gas and 150,000 bbl/d of oil prior to Katrina. The platform, which sustained topside damage, had a production capacity of 220,000 bbl/d of oil and 220 MMcf/d of gas.

Shell's deepwater West Delta Block 143 "A" platform also took a hit during Katrina, but the company did not update its status. The platform doesn't produce oil or gas, but it is a hub for pipelines from the Mars deepwater field. It transports crude through Port Fourchon into the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port's storage at Clovelly, LA, and its gas pipeline goes to Venice, LA, which was extensively damaged.

For its entire Gulf operations, Shell said it has restored production to 340,000 boe/d (Shell's share). Shell had been producing 200,000 boe/d at the end of 3Q2005. Prior to the storms, Shell was averaging about 450,000 boe/d of production in the Gulf during the first six months of 2005.

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