Apache to resume work on platform in gulf

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Jan. 20
-- US regulators approved a permit enabling Apache Corp. to resume plugging and abandonment operations on East Cameron Block 278 Platform B, where workers reported seeing a hydrocarbon sheen on Jan. 16.

The depleted natural gas field is in the Gulf of Mexico in 168 ft of water 95 miles due south of Cameron, La. The platform had been evacuated, and a remotely operated vehicle was used to study the safety of the platform.

The platform, which has not been in production for nearly a decade, was used to process gas and condensate from other facilities. Before Apache shut in the platform for plugging and abandonment operations, EC Block 278 Platform B processed 20 MMcfd from other facilities, the company said (OGJ Online, Jan. 19, 2011).

On Jan. 20, Apache said the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement approved a permit to resume operations after air-monitoring equipment found no traces of gas emissions on the platform. Power was restored to assure safe operations.

Apache acquired EC 278 in 2006. The development of the wells and installation of the platform occurred in the 1990s by previous owner-operators. Apache holds a 50% working interest; Stone Energy Corp., Lafayette, La., holds the other 50%.

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