Shell resumes Gulf of Mexico oil fields

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Shell resumes Gulf of Mexico oil fields

After a key crude pipeline resumed flows, the company restarted production at three Gulf of Mexico oil fields.

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Multiple offshore platforms were shut down Thursday after a leak at Louisiana booster station halted Shell Plc's Amberjack and Mars pipelines, which together can move up to 500,000 barrels of oil a day from the Gulf to the coast.

Shell said Amberjack, which is jointly owned by Chevron, resumed operations Friday and is flowing at reduced capacity. According to people familiar with the matter, Mars is expected to be up by 4 pm central time.

Chevron has so far resumed production at its Jack St. Malo, Tahiti and Big Foot platforms. Other shuttered assets include Shell's Mars, Ursa and Olympus fields and Equinor ASA's Titan platform, the companies said. Murphy Oil Corp. also shut down some platforms, a spokesman said.

Energy Aspects says that if both pipelines return to service on the expected timeline, production losses will be minimal.

The shut-ins come at a time when global energy supplies are extremely tight. US crude inventories were cushioned by the government tapping emergency oil reserves, but they remain below the five-year average. The International Energy Agency predicts that demand for oil will increase this year, and supplies could tighten further.

Prices for Mars Blend crude were up Thursday before easing Friday, a regional sour crude benchmark. Dry-gas production in the Gulf of Mexico fell by 10% since January, the most since January, according to BloombergNEF estimates.

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