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Leak forces Shell to halt production at 3 Gulf deepwater platforms

“Shell can confirm that the Mars and Amberjack Pipelines have been shut-in due to a flange leak at the Fourchon booster station," the company said.

HOUSTON — Shell shut-in two of its platforms in the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday due to a leak, the company said.

The company released the following statement:

“Shell can confirm that the Mars and Amberjack Pipelines have been shut-in due to a flange leak at the Fourchon booster station. As a result, Shell’s deep-water assets in the Mars Corridor—Mars, Ursa, and Olympus---have also been shut-in.

“Shell is coordinating with local authorities and mobilizing personnel and equipment to assess the situation. We are currently looking at alternative flow paths to connecting carriers. Further information will be released as it becomes available.

“Shell’s top priorities remain the protection of people, the community, the environment, and our assets.”

According to Fourchon, it was a “small volume spill of about two barrels of oil." They said the oil stayed within its built containment on land/rock. Contractors were on-site to fix the failed flange. No open water or marshland was affected, and no port operations were impacted, they said.

We spoke to KHOU 11 Energy Expert Ed Hirs who said the shut-in would have little impact on the Houston area.

“This supposedly only leaked two barrels, which will not be a problem,” Hirs said.

He said if the closure lasts more than a day, Houston can increase releases from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to make up for it.

To help put the cost into perspective, President Joe Biden is releasing about a million barrels a day to keep gas prices down.

"So, we could increase the release a bit," Hirs said. “And so far this season, we have not had any interruptions due to hurricanes, which helps."

Hirs said a shutdown in the oil industry at one time or another is expected.

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