Nearly all Gulf of Mexico oil production remains shut-in

29 August 2012 19:34  [Source: ICIS news]

(adds details, updates throughout)

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Nearly all of the oil production in the US Gulf of Mexico remained shut in as Isaac maintained hurricane strength over Louisiana, an agency said on Wednesday.

Companies have shut in 505 oil and natural-gas platforms, or 84.73% of the 596 manned platforms in the Gulf, according to the US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.

As such, 94.72% of the Gulf's daily oil production is shut in, the bureau said. For natural gas, it is 71.64%.

The hurricane knocked out power in many parts of southern Louisiana, with more than 495,000 customers without electricity as of 900 hours New Orleans time (14:00 GMT), according to Entergy, the region's major power company.

Phillips 66 said it shut down its 247,000 bbl/day Alliance Refinery in Belle Chasse, which was without power. Phillips 66 said it had yet to determine if flooding had damaged the refinery.

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development warned of several restrictions along the state's roads, especially in the southeastern part of the state.

So far, the levees protecting New Orleans were holding, according to the US Army Corps of Engineers, which maintains the system.

Water topped over a levee in a rural part of the state, but it is outside of the corps's system, it said.

Meanwhile, Isaac still remains a hurricane even after making landfall on Tuesday, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Isaac was 45 miles (75km) west southwest of New Orleans, travelling northwest at 6 miles/hour, the centre said.

Maximum sustained wind speeds remained at 75 miles/hour, meteorologists said.

Hurricane-force winds extended up to 45 miles from the storm's centre, and meteorologists expect 7-14 inches (18-36cm) of rain to fall on the northern US Gulf coast, with up to 20 inches in some areas.

The centre warned that Isaac could still produce storm surges and flooding throughout the area until the end of the day.

Already, a storm surge of nearly 8 feet (2.4 metres) was reported at Shell Beach, Louisiana, and Waveland, Mississippi, the centre said.

Hurricanes can disrupt the North American petrochemical industry, since oil and gas production is concentrated in the Gulf of Mexico and many of the country's refineries and petrochemical plants are on the US Gulf coast.

So far, several petrochemical plants and refineries have either reduced operating rates or shut down

Dow Chemical's St Charles Operations in Louisiana remained down on Wednesday, while some of its units at its Plaquemine complex were either down or running at reduced rates.

Additional reporting by Brian Ford


By: Al Greenwood
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