Firms shut-in 93% of Gulf of Mexico oil production on Isaac

28 August 2012 20:34  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Energy producers have shut-in 93.28% of the daily oil production in the Gulf of Mexico as Hurricane Isaac remains on track to make landfall near New Orleans, Louisiana, government agencies said on Tuesday.

Companies have evacuated personnel from 503 oil and natural-gas platforms, or 84.4% of the 596 in the Gulf, according to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.

In addition to oil, 66.7% of the Gulf's daily natural gas production has been shut-in, the bureau said.

Hurricane Isaac was about 135 miles (220km) southeast of New Orleans, moving northwest at 10 miles/hour, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Maximum sustained winds were at 75 miles/hour, making Isaac a Category 1 storm using the centre's rating system.

Isaac could strengthen further before making landfall either later today or on Wednesday.

Hurricane-force winds are extending outward by up to 60 miles northeast and east from the centre of the storm, meteorologists said.

If the storm's peak surge occurs at the time of high tide, flooding near the coast could reach depths of up to 12 feet (4m), the centre said.

Isaac could produce rainfall of 7-14 inches (18-36cm), with maximums reaching 20 inches, the centre said. Tornadoes could form on the Gulf coast.

So far, several companies have shut down petrochemical plants and refineries in preparation for Isaac.

If the storm makes landfall on Wednesday, it would do so on the seventh anniversary of the much more powerful Hurricane Katrina, which hit the same region. 

By: Al Greenwood
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