Nearly all US Gulf oil production remains shut in on Isaac

30 August 2012 21:01  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Most of the US oil production in the Gulf of Mexico remained shut in on Thursday in the aftermath of Hurricane Isaac.

Producers shut in 94.99% of the daily oil production in the Gulf of Mexico, according to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement. For natural gas, 72.52% was shut in.

Companies had evacuated workers from 509 oil and gas platforms, or 85.4% of the 596 manned platforms in the Gulf, the bureau said.

As of 13:00 hours New Orleans time (18:00 hours GMT), Isaac still maintained tropical-storm strength, with maximum sustained wind speeds of 40 miles/hour (65km/hour), according to the National Hurricane Center.

The centre of the storm was about 25 miles southwest of Monroe, Louisiana, travelling north northwest at 9 miles/hour, meteorologists said.

Although the storm was weakening, it was still producing heavy rains, the centre warned.

Some parts of Louisiana reported more than 6 inches (15cm) of rain in the past 24 hours, according to the National Weather Service.

Storm surges still threatened the region, according to Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal.

Tidal surges could reach 9 feet (3 metres) west of the Mississippi river and 11 feet east of the river, he said.

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

However, a dam about 100 miles north of New Orleans is expected to fail, and up to 60,000 people living one mile of either side of the river have been ordered to leave, Reuters reported.

The dam, near McComb, Mississippi, was not threatening New Orleans, Reuters reported.

Isaac has knocked down power and shut down roads throughout Louisiana.

As of 830 hours New Orleans time, nearly 763,000 customers were without power, said Entergy, the main electricity company in the region.

Entergy had crews of more than 10,000 who already had begun restoring power, the company said.

Several refineries and petrochemical plants have shut down or reduced rates.

But with Isaac's passing, Lion Copolymer already plans to begin start-up procedures at its styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) plant in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and its ethylene-propylene-diene monomer (EPDM) plant in Geismar, Louisiana.

Operations could resume as early as Saturday, the company said.

By: Al Greenwood
+1 713 525 2645

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