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Sable Island Back in 'Days' Not 'Weeks'

A disabled water pump was the cause of the shut-in of natural gas production from the Sable Island Field offshore Nova Scotia early last Tuesday morning, a spokesman for operator ExxonMobil told NGI. As of last Thursday afternoon, production of about 400 MMcf/d was expected to come back on in a matter of days, the spokesman said.

"We're making good progress on the piece of mechanical equipment," said spokesman Merle MacIsaac. "There was an electrical short-circuit, and this resulted in some smoke and flame and that activated our safety response system. That was quickly brought under control, but connected to this was a water pump that was activated and it malfunctioned, and that's the issue that is requiring time to make the repair.

"We don't speculate on when production will return to normal, but this repair would normally take days rather than weeks to [make]."

There were no injuries, he said.

The project normally produces 400-500 MMcf/d and about 20,000 b/d of natural gas liquids, according to the ExxonMobil website. Gas production travels on Spectra Energy's Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline. A pipeline operational notice last Tuesday morning advised shippers that variations in gas quality were possible due to the decrease in supplies caused by the Sable Island shut-in.

The Maritimes & Northeast mainline interconnects with Portland Natural Gas Transmission System, Tennessee Gas Pipeline and Algonquin Gas Transmission. Through lateral pipelines the pipeline serves markets in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Emera Inc. and ExxonMobil Canada own minority interests in the pipeline. The Sable project is owned by ExxonMobil Canada Properties Ltd., Shell Canada Ltd., Imperial Oil Resources, Pengrowth Energy Trust and Mosbacher Operating Ltd.

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