Operations Beginning to Return to Normal after Hurricane Lili

Approximately 60 percent of crude production in the Gulf of Mexico has returned after being shut-in due to Hurricane Lili. Most oil majors reported minor damage to their facilities. Hurricane Lili was downgraded from a Euguene Island AreaCategory 4 to a Category 2 hurricane with sustained winds of 90 mph as it hit the Louisiana coast last Thursday. According to the MMS approximately 237,000 bpd of oil production was shut in on Tuesday, down from 578,000 bpd on Monday and 1.6 million barrels per day shut in last week as Lili blew through Gulf oil and gas fields.

BP spokesman Larry Thomas said measurement equipment on the company's offshore production facilities registered 150 mph winds from the hurricane on Thursday. "Our sensors on buoys and platforms showed some readings of 150 mph winds and 30-foot swells and I heard rumors that others had even higher readings," said Thomas. "Although the storm had gone down to a Category 2 when it reached the coast, it had been much stronger offshore. We certainly bore the brunt of it. I think you'll start seeing reports of at least some damage." The bulk of BP's platforms are within 60 miles of the coastline. Thomas said many shelf platforms are 30-40 years old. "The newer stuff, such as the semisubmersibles and spars are designed to weather this type of a storm, whereas some of the Shelf platforms are older and (weaker)."