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Gulf Of Mexico Oil Outages Balloon Beyond Shell

At least two other oil majors shuttered their Gulf of Mexico platforms on Friday following a leak in the Fourchon booster station, shutting down the flow of crude through the Amberjack Pipelines.

On Thursday, Shell halted production at its Mars, Ursa, and Olympus platforms, which can produce 410,000 bpd. Shell did not provide an estimate for when the platforms would resume production.

On Friday, Shell was joined by Chevron, which shuttered Jack/St. Malo (57,000 boepd), Tahiti, and Bigfoot (75,000 bpd) platforms, which also feed into the Amberjack lines. Equinor joined Shell and Chevron on Friday, shuttering its Titan platform—a minor platform in the Gulf of Mexico that typically produces just 2,000 boepd.

The Fourchon booster station, which leaked two barrels of oil before being shut down, is expected to be repaired later today. It is not yet clear when platforms will resume production.

The shutdown, which now spans seven platforms in the Gulf of Mexico, comes at a time when the United States is battling high retail gasoline prices and tight crude oil and refined products markets. Already the United States has tapped into its Strategic Petroleum Reserve to the tune of 800,000 and 1 million barrels per day to alleviate the prices at the pump.

Crude oil inventories in the United States remain 5% below the five-year average. U.S. crude oil production currently sits at 12.2 million barrels per day, 900,000 bpd shy of its pre-Covid peak. 

Crude oil prices were trading down on Friday, but still up week over week—a reality that could arrest the pattern of falling retail gasoline prices in the United States. The Biden administration has lobbied OPEC and Saudi Arabia specifically to raise oil production in the runup to midterm elections.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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