"Structural Damage" From Ida Keeps Shell GoM Oil Hub Shut Till 2022

Shell's Olympus platform (Royal Dutch Shell file image)

Published Sep 20, 2021 5:27 PM by The Maritime Executive

In a statement Monday, Royal Dutch Shell reported that it has completed its damage assessment process for the idled West Delta-143 offshore platform, a key transfer station for its production assets at the prolific Mars oil field. The shallow-water platform sustained "significant structural damage" in Hurricane Ida, Shell said - enough damage to take it offline for months. 

In order to facilitate repairs, the WD-143 "A" platform will be offline through the end of the year, and WD-143 "B" will be offline until the fourth quarter of 2021. 

"Given the timeline for repairs to WD-143, we expect to resume production from our Olympus platform, which flows across the WD-143 “C” platform, in Q4 2021, and from our Mars and Ursa facilities, which flow across the WD-143 “A” platform, in Q1 2022," Shell said. "Our top priorities continue to be the protection and recovery of our people and assets, the community and the environment."

Mars, Olympus and Ursa are deepwater tension-leg platforms in the Mississippi Canyon region, located off the coast of Louisiana. WD-143 normally handles about 200,000 barrels per day of crude production from these facilities - more than 10 percent of the total amount produced in the U.S. Gulf.

Shell said that its Perdido platform in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico was not affected by the storm, and its Turritella (Stones) FPSO is still online. Taken all together, about 60 percent of the Shell-operated production facilities in the Gulf are now back online. 

Other operators in the Gulf are also beginning to bounce back. 94 percent of the region's fixed production platforms are now manned again, and 82 percent of offshore oil production is online. This represents a big turnaround: On September 1, just after the storm, over 93 percent of all Gulf of Mexico production was shut in. A nine-day shutdown at the key service hub of Port Fourchon delayed the industry's restart, but the port is now back up and running. 

The long offshore sector slowdown caused by Ida is expected to weigh slightly on U.S. oil export volumes. According to Rystad Energy, the lost supply volume will total about 200-250,000 bpd (equal to the production of Shell's Mars, Ursa and Olympus platforms) for several months.