PORT FOURCHON, La. — Shell Oil reported that a connection between two major oil pipelines on land leaked Thursday near Port Fourchon, forcing the company to shut down production at three of its largest deepwater oil platforms off the coast of Louisiana.
“Shell can confirm that the Mars and Amberjack Pipelines have been shut-in due to a flange leak at the Fourchon booster station,” Shell spokeswoman Cindy Babski said. “As a result, Shell’s deepwater assets in the Mars Corridor — Mars, Ursa and Olympus – have also been shut in.”
An extended shutdown could have a major impact on production because those platforms produce about 410,000 barrels – 17.2 million gallons – of oil per day. But Babski said in an updated statement later Thursday that Shell expects to have the pipelines back up and running Friday.
The oil leak itself was at a port facility on land and has been contained after two barrels of crude, about 84 gallons, were spilled, Babski said. Chett Chiasson, executive director of the Greater Lafourche Port Commission, confirmed the leak happened at the end of Highway 1, at the junction with the only road to Grand Isle to the east and Port Fourchon to the west.
Chiasson also confirmed that the flange that leaked was a connection between the Mars Pipeline and the Amberjack Pipeline.
The Louisiana State Police said its HAZMAT unit was not deployed. The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality is leading the response to the leak.
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