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Independence Hub Returns to Flowing 900 MMcf/d

Independence Hub in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico is back up to moving 900 MMcf/d after an extended outage that was duly noted by the gas market. Anadarko Petroleum Corp. said last Monday that repairs to the Independence Trail pipeline and subsequent testing were successful.

"As a result, we've been able to return production to pre-shut-in levels," said Anadarko CEO Jim Hackett. "This is good news for Anadarko, our partners and U.S. consumers as nearly a billion cubic feet per day of natural gas (more than 10% of natural gas production from the Gulf of Mexico) is returning to the market. We commend Enterprise [Products Partners LP] and others for working diligently to make the necessary repairs."

Production was shut-in on April 8, after a leak was discovered on the flex-joint assembly of the Enterprise-owned Independence Trail export pipeline, which required the replacement of an o-ring gasket. The hub was down for approximately four weeks longer than was accounted for in the guidance provided in Anadarko's first-quarter earnings release. Despite having approximately 0.45 Bcf/d of net gas production shut-in during that time, the company continues to expect its full-year 2008 production guidance to be within the previously announced range of 207 million to 212 million boe.

Anadarko spokesman John Christensen said last Friday that Independence was flowing at pre-shut-in levels.

When the hub went off-line on April 8 due to a leak on Independence Trail the original repair estimate was "one to four weeks" (see NGI, April 14).

Last month Anadarko sought to steady its investors by reaffirming its full-year production guidance for 2008 -- even as Enterprise announced that it was revising the restart date from "mid-May" to the "first half of June" (see NGI, May 19).

Enterprise, which owns 80% of the production platform and 100% of the pipeline, said the repair took longer than expected due to the unforeseen need to machine parts.

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