Some Gulf of Mexico operations shut in after fire

Shell and Hess Corp. said there's no timeline yet for when operations can resume following a fire at the Enchilada platform.
By Daniel J. Graeber  |  Updated Nov. 14, 2017 at 9:54 AM
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Nov. 13 (UPI) -- Operations in the Gulf of Mexico are shut down as a result of a recent fire on a platform and there's no immediate indication of a restart, Hess Corp. said.

Hess is working alongside the Dutch supermajor, which said last week that two people were injured during a fire on board the Enchilada platform on the Garden Banks reservoir in the Gulf of Mexico.

There were no signs that oil was on the water at the time of the incident. A spill-response vessel was mobilized to the area as a precaution. The fields in question are about 100 miles away from the nearest shoreline.

Shell said two of its platforms were closed down, as was a 30-inch natural gas pipeline. Hess said Monday it was told that a repair plan was being developed, but closed down production from three of its fields as a result.

"Though the structure is visibly sound, crews will continue to determine the integrity of the platform and formulate a plan for damage repair," Shell said.

Hess said its share of production was 30,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, adding it was working with Shell to get a better sense of when operations could resume.

Shell said Sunday it was winding down emergency response operations, but was working closely with the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement to figure out what caused the incident.

The BSEE was set up in response to failures with the former federal Minerals Management Service in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

A measure under consideration in the U.S. House of Representatives to expand offshore drilling opportunities would recombine the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management with the BSEE. Michael Bromwich, an official with the previous administration, told lawmakers that proposal was "a profoundly bad idea."

Bromwich was the director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, the agency that pre-dated the split into BOEM and BSEE.

The U.S. waters of the Gulf of Mexico account for about 17 percent of total national oil production and 5 percent of the dry natural gas production per day.

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