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Gulfport Restarts Some LA Production Following October Pipeline Rupture

Oklahoma City-based Gulfport Energy Corp. reported late Thursday that a portion of the company's production has been restored at the West Cote Blanche Bay field in southern Louisiana following a tug boat and barge accident last month that ruptured a natural gas pipeline and killed four people.

The entire field was shut in as a precautionary measure following the fracture of the underwater natural gas pipeline in the field on October 12, 2006 (see Daily GPI, Oct. 13).

Gulfport said current net production from its West Cote Blanche Bay field is approximately 2,900 boe/d, which is approximately 1,300 boe/d less than the company's production level prior to the shut-in. The remaining shut-in production is expected to be back online in December repairs should be completed.

Gulfport's year-to-date production through Sept. 30, 2006 was 691,000 boe. The company said it was on pace to meet its full year production guidance of 1,050,000 to 1,200,000 boe before the production interruption. However, it does not currently expect to meet its annual production guidance due to the interruption.

Gulfport's drilling activity for the remainder of the year in the West Cote Blanche Bay field includes two development wells and two recompletions. Gulfport is also currently drilling its first exploratory well in the Hackberry field. Gulfport has both rigs under contract through 2007.

The accident occurred when a tug boat and two barges apparently struck a natural gas pipeline on Oct. 12, causing a fire at the Gulfport facility. Gulfport said the fire was reported north of its facilities in West Cote and involved two contracted vessels that were performing work on behalf of the company.

Gulfport's West Cote field lies about five miles off the coast of Louisiana, primarily in St. Mary Parish, in a shallow bay, with water depths averaging eight to 10 feet. The field lies over one of the largest salt dome structures on the Gulf Coast, according to Gulfport. There have been 871 wells drilled in West Cote, and of these, 48 were producing, 303 were shut-in, and five had been converted to salt water disposal wells.

Gulfport is an independent oil and gas exploration and production company with its principal producing properties located along the Louisiana Gulf Coast.

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