Shell Oil Company shut its Mars deepwater production platform in the Gulf of Mexico over the weekend after workers spotted a sheen indicating a possible leak from a pipeline.
Shell spokesman Fred Palmer says only about three-point-three gallons of oil from a pipe were released into the water before it was discovered Saturday. But Shell shut down the platform, which produces about 150,000 barrels a day of crude oil and 170 million cubic feet of natural gas. The platform is about 130 miles southeast of New Orleans.
The shutdown was announced Monday as the price of oil reached a new high, settling at $41.72 per barrel.
Shell says the leak apparently came from a flexible joint that allows a pipeline leading from the platform to sway with the Gulf's currents. The company is determining whether the joint can be repaired or whether it must be replaced.