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Shell shuts Auger platform after fire: Update

8 Nov 2017, 9.18 pm GMT

Shell shuts Auger platform after fire: Update

Adds details throughout.

Houston, 8 November (Argus) — Shell has shut the Auger oil platform and pipeline and some other Gulf of Mexico operations because of a fire today.

The incident occurred at 2:20am ET at the Shell Enchilada platform in the US Gulf of Mexico. Shell has identified the source of the fire and has contained it but not put it out.

"For safety reasons, we have chosen not to extinguish the fire while the pipeline is safely depressurized," a spokesman for Shell Midstream Partners said. As of 1pm ET, the fire had been reduced to a small flame coming out of a pipe on the platform, the Coast Guard said.

Production at the Auger platform and nearby fields has been shut in, as well as a 30-inch natural gas pipeline. The Enchilada and Salsa platforms were also shut.

The Auger pipeline system is a 174-mile offshore pipeline corridor that moves crude from the central Gulf of Mexico. Total capacity on the pipeline is 200,000 b/d to St James, Louisiana, by way of the Ship Shoal system and an additional 35,000 b/d into the Houma, Louisiana, terminal through Eugene Island.

Auger primarily produces Bonito crude. Bonito was assessed yesterday at about $1/bl over Mars and about $3.50/bl higher than WTI, according to Argus.

All 46 people working on the platform were safely evacuated to Shell's Salsa platform or to a nearby vessel. Two people were injured in the incident and transferred to a hospital.

The Coast Guard said there were no signs of oil in the water in the morning but later in the day that there is a report of light sheen north of the Enchilada platform. The Coast Guard and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement are investigating.

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