Nate shuts in 90pc of US Gulf oil output
Houston, 8 October (Argus) — More than 90pc of US offshore Gulf of Mexico oil output was shut in by Hurricane Nate over the weekend, but the impact will likely be short-lived.
As of the afternoon of 8 October, over 1.62mn b/d of oil output was shut in, representing 92.6pc of the total from the offshore US Gulf of Mexico, according to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE). Nearly 78pc of natural gas output, or 2.5 Bcf/d, remains shut in. As many as 298 platforms and 14 rigs were evacuated as the hurricane traveled through the region.
"As the storm has passed, operators will begin to re-board and inspect their facilities," BSEE said. "Currently, no damage has been reported."
Most producers in the region, including Chevron, BP, Shell and ExxonMobil had shut in production and removed personnel at most if not all of their platforms on the path of the storm starting late last week.
Chevron, in its latest update, said it has begun to redeploy personnel and restore production at the facilities it operates. The major is also assessing its pipelines and facilities for restart, including the Fourchon and Empire terminals.
The US Coast guard today started initial assessments of the Mississippi river and its tributaries to determine if there are any hazards to life, the environment, or property following the hurricane.
The agency said it is actively working with federal, state, local, and industry partners to ensure safe waterway conditions to systematically reopen ports in southeastern Louisiana.
The agency yesterday set "condition Zulu" for the ports of New Orleans and Mobile, Alabama, which suspends all port operations.
Vessel traffic was restricted in a designated safety zone on the Lower Mississippi river until 9pm ET today. All vessels are prohibited from entering or moving within the safety zone without permission from the New Orleans captain of the port. Transit will be allowed only on a case-by-case basis. The safety zone is roughly between mile marker 73 above Head of Passes to mile marker 20, the Coast Guard said.
Nate, which is now a tropical depression, continues to move quickly north-northeastward over central Alabama, and it has continued to rapidly weaken, the National Hurricane Center said in its last update on the system.