STORM OUTAGES: Half of Gulf oil production remains shut after Isaac


HOUSTON -- Oil and gas companies in the Gulf Coast said Wednesday that Hurricane Isaac left little damage to energy infrastructure in its wake, but nearly half of the offshore oil output in the region and some refining capacity remained offline as crews worked to restart facilities.

About 680,749 barrels a day of oil production, or 49% of the area's total, remain shut-in by oil and gas producers, as does about 1.2 billion cubic feet of natural gas, or 26% of the region's output of the commodity, according to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.

The figures represent a small decrease from Tuesday, when 52% of oil output and 29% of natural gas output were shut-in.

However, nearly all of the offshore platforms that pump oil and gas out of the Gulf have been restaffed. Only 3% of the region's 596 manned platforms remained empty of people.

Refiners have said their facilities sustained little damage, and they are working to restart operations. The US Department of Energy reported Monday that nearly all refineries affected by the storm have restarted or are in the process of doing so, though some are still running at reduced rates.

Marathon Petroleum said its 464,000 bpd Garyville, La., refinery is back to normal operations following the storm.

Phillips 66 said power was restored to its 247,000 bpd Alliance refinery in Belle Chasse, La., early Tuesday morning, and staff is in the process of bringing it back online.

The company said it will be a few weeks before the refinery is operating at normal rates.

Royal Dutch Shell and Motiva Enterprises said Sept. 2 that the refinery in Norco, La., is restarting, though some units are still operating at reduced rates. The Convent, La., refinery is restarting as well, though some electrical power issues are still being resolved.

Some offshore operating companies said they were still waiting on crucial infrastructure to come online before fully ramping up oil and gas production.

Anadarko Petroleum said Tuesday it had restored production at its Independence Hub platform and was ramping up production there and at other platforms “as third-party-operated pipelines and infrastructure allow.” The company was waiting on infrastructure availability to restart production at the Neptune platform.

A spokesman for BP said the company is continuing to restaff offshore operations and is working to resume normal operations there.

Stone Energy said it was producing 18,000 bpd of oil in the Gulf as of Sept. 3, about half its normal production there. Two fields, the Amberjack and Pampano, remained shut while waiting on onshore processing facilities.

Enterprise Products said inspections of its offshore platforms evacuated because of the storm “revealed no significant damage.”

Enterprise’s onshore natural-gas processing facilities in southern Louisiana and its Acadian natural-gas pipeline system were up and running, but operators of the infrastructure that feeds Enterprise's assets in southern Louisiana were “in various stages of resuming operations as they address lingering high-water and power issues,” the company said in a news release.

McMoRan Exploration said its rigs, which were secured and evacuated for the storm, were unharmed. Crews have returned, and operations, including exploratory activities and well recompletion, have resumed.

Hercules Offshore, an offshore drilling company, said all its rigs and liftboats in the Gulf have been accounted for, and crews haven’t found any damage in preliminary inspections.

Dow Jones Newswires

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