Shell preps key Gulf of Mexico pipeline for restart after hurricane Ida

By Sheela Tobben on 9/12/2021

(Bloomberg) --Royal Dutch Shell is gearing up to restart oil pipelines off the U.S. Gulf Coast, potentially moving the region’s top driller one step closer to restoring some production shut by Hurricane Ida. 

Most of the pipelines will be ready to operate within a week, according to a person familiar with the matter, who asked not to be named because they are not authorized to discuss the plan publicly. Shell declined to comment.

The conduits need to be up and running before restoring millions of barrels a day of oil production from offshore platforms that have been offline since Ida headed for Louisiana last month. But the pipeline restarts don’t necessarily mean output will follow. 

The storm disrupted U.S. crude production like no other hurricane had done before. Almost two weeks after the storm hit, more than two-thirds of U.S. Gulf output remain offline. Shell on Thursday declared force majeure on “numerous contracts” as it was still assessing the damage.

Shell will keep pipelines associated with its West Delta-143 offshore facility offline as assessments will continue for those assets, the person said. The facility serves as a transfer station for the Ursa, Medusa, Mars A and Olympus production fields and platforms.

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