El Paso Corp. subsidiary Southern Natural Gas Co. (SNG) said Tuesday that the force majeure upstream of Toca at the Gate 6 platform offshore Louisiana due to a pipeline rupture remains in effect (see Daily GPI, Aug. 6; Aug. 7), potentially shutting in somewhere in the neighborhood of 600 MMcf/d of offshore production from market. Reduced gas supply for the Southeast could be problematic as the region currently bakes under some of the hottest temperatures of the year.

According to AccuWeather.com, a large dome of high pressure over the Gulf Coast states is pumping hot air into most areas east of the Rockies. “Temperatures [Tuesday] will soar into the mid- to upper 90s across the southern Plains, the Ohio Valley and the Southeast,” the forecasting firm said. Some areas in the Southeast were expected to top the century mark and challenge record highs.

“One of the 20-inch lines ruptured on Friday, Aug. 3 in the predawn hours. I don’t have any current estimates on how much gas was curtailed, but prior to the rupture the amount of gas from offshore producers coming into that Gate 6 supply aggregation platform was approximately 600 MMcf/d,” said Richard Wheatley, a spokesman for SNG. “One of the three lines was not in service at the time because of pigging, so I can’t tell you how they split the 600 MMcf/d, but the whole platform is shut down.”

The closed Gate 6 platform has seven supply lines operated by three parties feeding it and three Southern-operated lines — two 20-inch lines and one 26-inch line — leaving the platform. SNG said one of the 20-inch lines ruptured and initial damage assessments have been completed on the other 20-inch line. “Based on the best available information we estimate that it will be at least two to three weeks before the second 20-inch line can be returned to service. Damage assessments continue on the 26-inch line and should be completed on Tuesday, Aug. 7,” Wheatley said.

During this period, SNG said shippers are encouraged to fully utilize their storage withdrawal rights while also tapping other supply options.

“We did put out guidance for end-use customers that they can use alternate supply sources from Petal, Elba, Tennessee or Destin-Enterprise, so there is gas available for the downstream customers,” Wheatley said. “Our big concern is trying to get the producers back on-line as soon as possible and we are working toward that end.”

The spokesman added that the cause of the rupture is still being looked at, and no firm cause has yet been identified.

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