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Leak Halts Oil Output of Shell Platforms

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Shell has halted production at its Mars, Ursa, and Olympus platforms in the Gulf of Mexico, which combined can produce 410,000 barrels of Mars sour crude oil per day, after a leak shut the Mars and Amberjack Pipelines that connect to the platforms. Shell has not provided a timetable for restart, although the company said it was evaluating “alternative flow paths” to bring the oil to shore through other pipeline routes.

Shell said in a statement: “Shell is coordinating with local authorities and mobilizing personnel and equipment to assess the situation.”

The leak was detected at the Fourchon booster station, which increases the pressure and flow of crude on its way to the Clovelly Dome Storage Terminal in LOOP.

The Clovelly Dome terminal stores crude oil in underground salt caverns before it’s taken to a refinery. The terminal is capable of holding 40 million barrels.

The US is already releasing between 800,000 and one million barrels of crude oil per day from its Strategic Petroleum Reserves in an attempt to alleviate the tight market and bring down prices. Crude oil inventories in the US are five percent below the five-year average, with crude oil production failing to return to pre-COVID levels.

Current crude oil production in the US is at 12.2 million bpd, compared to the pre-COVID peak of 13.1 million bpd reached in March 2020.

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