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Gulf Pipeline Rupture Shuts In 110 MMcf/d

Enterprise Products Partners confirmed Thursday that about 110 MMcf/d of associated natural gas production has not been flowing into the High Island Offshore System (HIOS) since Christmas when a rupture was discovered on a pipeline operated upstream of HIOS by Plains All American Pipeline LP.

Plains' High Island Pipeline System (HIPS) was severed on Dec. 24 by a tanker's anchor about 30 miles south of Galveston, TX, according to the U.S. Transportation Department. The pipeline, which carries both oil (28,000 b/d) and natural gas (up to 140 MMcf/d), was plugged last weekend after more than 1,000 bbl of oil spilled into the Gulf.

"[HIPS] does lead into our High Island System but it's not [reducing flows] by a lot," said Enterprise's Randy Burkhalter. He said gas flows on HIOS prior to the rupture totaled about 480,000-490,000 MMBtu/d.

Apache Corp., Newfield Exploration and Anadarko Petroleum were among the producers impacted by the HIPS rupture. Privately held SandRidge Energy Inc. also said about 21 MMcf/d of its production was shut in because of the rupture. SandRidge also has had to shut in about 18 MMcf/d of gas production at its Eagle Bay field in Galveston Bay because of a pipeline installation by Kinder Morgan. In total, it expects about 1 Bcfe of its natural gas production to be deferred because of two temporary shut-ins.

"We've been assessing the damage to the line...but before we can start repairing the line it has to be approved by the regulatory agencies, including the Minerals Management Service," said Plains All American spokesman Jordan Janak. "The seas are about 7 feet out there and the divers are out of the water right now. The weather is going to be problematic for the next couple of days. I can't give you a date on repairs being completed."

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