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Hydrate Problems Force Sable Curtailments

January 17, 2000
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Hydrate Problems Force Sable Curtailments

The Sable Offshore Energy Project had to shut down production twice since starting operations Jan. 1. The first incident occurred on Friday Jan. 7 only a week after gas began to flow when a subsea line started experiencing hydrate problems (essentially ice slug blockage). Then early last week the Sable processing plant onshore had to be evacuated because of a gas leak warning. As of last Friday there was no prognosis on when production would be restarted.

The Canada Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board said last week it will begin providing weekly updates on the offshore project and daily updates when outages occur. Information is available on the board's web site: The National Energy Board has jurisdiction over the onshore facilities.

Initial production from Sable was averaging 110 MMcf/d, about 36 MMcf/d of which was making its way into U.S. markets via the Maritimes project. Sable producers still expect flows to ramp up to 440 MMcf/d quickly. About 360 MMcf/d is expected to be traveling to the U.S. by mid-February. The Sable project is expected to reach peak flow of 530 MMcf/d after Nova Scotia and New Brunswick laterals are put in place in November.

Production will be flowing from six wells at the North Atlantic project's Thebaud, Venture and North Triumph fields. The fields are 125 miles (200 km) east of Nova Scotia. Sable's various parts include three offshore processing platforms, two onshore processing plants as well as subsea pipelines. Sable partners include Exxon Mobil with 50.8%, Shell Canada Ltd. with 31.3%, Exxon Mobil affiliate Imperial Oil Ltd. with 9%, Nova Scotia Resources Ltd. with 8.4%, and Mosbacher Operating Ltd. with 0.05%.

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