Houston, 11 October (Argus) — US oil and natural gas producers are redeploying staff to offshore platforms and restarting operations after Hurricane Delta’s pass through the region late last week.

The storm made landfall in the early evening of 9 October near Creole, Louisiana, as a Category 2 storm, bringing 100mph winds and coastal storm surge. Offshore production was shut in and some refineries ran at reduced levels as tens of thousands fled the region, which is still recovering from Hurricane Laura in late August.

The number of offshore platforms where personnel have been evacuated was 198 today, down from a peak of 276, according to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE). About 1.7mn b/d or 91pc of offshore oil production and 62pc or 1.7 Bcf/d of natural gas production was still offline as of 12:30pm ET today, the BSEE said — small drops from the height of storm shut-ins. About 17pc of US crude production and 5pc of natural gas production comes from the offshore Gulf of Mexico.

Shell is redeploying personnel to its offshore assets, but production remains shut in, the company said in an update. Mobile drilling units were returning to drill sites to re-start operations.

Chevron has also started to redeploy personnel and restore production at its Gulf of Mexico platforms that were shut in ahead of Delta. Chevron’s Fourchon and Empire terminals and related pipeline systems are back in service.

US Gulf production - operations restart after delta - oilandgas360

Onshore recovery

Delta caused damage and flooding in the Lake Charles region, which bore the brunt of Hurricane Laura as well. Phillips 66 said yesterday that it was conducting initial damage assessments at its Lake Charles area facilities, including the 260,000 b/d refinery. The company last week postponed a resumption of full operations at the refinery until after Delta’s landfall.

Shell refining facilities along the Louisiana coast in Convent, Geismar and Norco continue to run normally, according to the company, and saw little to no impact from the storm’s rain and winds.

ExxonMobil said its 500,000 b/d refinery in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is operating normally.

Delek’s 80,000 b/d Krotz Springs, Louisiana, refinery, was running at reduced rates before the storm but the company has not yet responded to a request for comment. PBF Energy has not responded to a request for the status of its 190,000 b/d refinery in Chalmette, Louisiana, nor has Marathon Petroleum about its 565,000 b/d refinery in Garyville, Louisiana.

Colonial Pipeline said it resumed operations on Line 1 the evening of 10 October but shut down Line 2 that same evening pending restoration of power to pump stations upstream of Baton Rouge. Colonial’s 5,500-mile (8,851km) pipeline system moves products from the Gulf coast to terminals throughout the southeast and up into the New York Harbor market.

Power coming back

The storm caused widespread power outages in areas of east Texas and western Louisiana. Regional utility Entergy said about 142,000 customers in Louisiana remained without power as of 9:30am ET today. Calcasieu Parish, which includes Lake Charles, had the most power outages at nearly 43,000 this morning.

In Texas Entergy said more than 50,000 customers remained without power as of 4:30pm ET today, with most of the remaining outages in the Beaumont, Orange, and Port Arthur areas. The Beaumont-Port Arthur area is an important crude export hub.

Several US ports reopened after the storm including the port of New Orleans, the port of Baton Rouge and the Houston Ship Channel. The port of Lake Charles remained closed, according to the Coast Guard. The Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP) restarted marine operations, according to the Department of Energy.

Delta was the 25th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, the 10th named storm to hit the mainland this year, and the first Greek-alphabet-named storm to ever hit the continental US, according to Colorado State University.


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