Shell Exploration & Production Co. will wait to shut down its Mars tension leg platform (TLP) in the Gulf of Mexico until early next year to help with disrupted production following Hurricane Ivan, officials said last week. Shell had said previously it would shut down the platform this month to replace flexjoints on both the oil and natural gas export lines.

The Mars TLP, located in Mississippi Canyon Block 807, was initially shut in last May when Shell discovered damage to the oil pipeline flexjoint. Subsequent inspections of the gas line also showed signs of deterioration on its flexjoint, and a decision was made to make temporary repairs to both lines while the flexjoints were refurbished. Production resumed at Mars in late June, and two months ago, Shell announced that the platform would be shut down this month to install the repaired pieces. When the repairs begin, Shell expects it to take about two weeks.

“Although the flexjoints are ready for installation, in the current resource constrained environment in the Gulf due to Hurricane Ivan repairs and to not further disrupt crude oil production from the Gulf of Mexico, we made the decision to delay the repair operation until late first quarter of 2005,” said Frank Glaviano, Shell’s regional production director. “The temporary repairs are operating safely and effectively. The weather conditions during the latter part of first quarter 2005 will be conducive to efficiently and safely completing the repairs. This delay is in the best interest of everyone.”

Shell is the operator of the Mars TLP with a 71.5% interest, and BP holds the remaining 28.5%.

©Copyright 2004 Intelligence Press Inc. Allrights reserved. The preceding news report may not be republishedor redistributed, in whole or in part, in any form, without priorwritten consent of Intelligence Press, Inc.