UPDATE: Producers Take Heed as Storm Targets Oil Patch

Blind Faith Field - Gulf of Mexico
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Independence Hub
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Thunder Horse Moored Semisubmersible PDQ
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Reuters reported Sunday that several major oil companies in the Gulf of Mexico have shut-in production and evacuated workers as tropical storm Ida heads for the offshore oil patch today. The Gulf of Mexico (GOM) supplies some 25% of U.S. oil production and 15% of natural gas production.

This afternoon as Ida approached the energy hub in the Gulf, the Minerals Management Service issued an offshore activity update in which the governmental authority reported that personnel have been evacuated from a total of 126 platforms and eight rigs as of 11:30 am.

Due to accelerating adverse weather conditions, the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP), which sees an average 1 million barrels of foreign crude per day from cargo ships, halted offloading operations Sunday afternoon, Reuters said.

However, the LOOP continues to supply U.S. Gulf Coast refineries from tens of millions of barrels of oil stored onshore despite the halt in tanker offloading, LOOP spokeswoman Barb Hestermann told Reuters. The LOOP also continues receiving via pipeline 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) in oil from Shell's Mars and BP's Thunder Horse production platforms in the Gulf, Hestermann is quoted as saying.

One of the most prolific oil producers in the region, British oil giant BP confirmed Sunday that it turned off taps at some of its platforms, while also evacuating some of its nonessential personnel, the report noted.

According to Reuters, a spokesman for Marathon Oil confirmed that its Ewing Bank production platform is currently offline and evacuated. Shut-in on Sunday, the platform supplies an estimated 11,700 barrels of oil and 10.5 million cubic feet of natural gas per day.

Anadarko also verfied that workers were being evacuated from its GOM platforms on Sunday; however, it's production activities were still active as of yesterday, Reuters said.

Additionally, Chevron has already shut-in some of its Gulf production, including Blind Faith, while Irving-based supermajor ExxonMobil announced that Gulf shutdowns were possible ahead of the hurricane at its GOM and offshore Alabama locations.

Both Enterprise and Murphy Oil have shut-in production from major offshore GOM installations today. The Independence Hub, Viosca Knoll, West Delta 69, Thunder Hawk and Medusa platforms are all offline.

A spokeswoman told Reuters Monday that Brazil's state-owned Petrobras has shut-in production from its Cottonwood GB 244 block, as well as its EC 373 platform in the Gulf.

Further, Transocean's Marianas semisubmersible drilling rig, located directly in Ida's path, has been evacuated of all personnel.

Traveling with 100 mile-per-hour (161 kph) winds on Sunday, Hurricane Ida weakened to a tropical storm Monday morning and is expected to hit the U.S. Gulf Coast near Mississippi on Tuesday, according to the Hurricane Center's forecasts.


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