Almost 85% of US Gulf oil production remains shut in following Zeta

Author: Adam Yanelli


HOUSTON (ICIS)--Almost 85% of US Gulf oil production is shut in and almost 2.5m customers remain without power as of midday Thursday because of Hurricane Zeta, which made landfall in Louisiana on Wednesday.

Zeta weakened during the day as it moved across the southeastern US but was still had maximum sustained winds of 50 miles/hour (80 km/hour) as of midday on Thursday and was located about 25 miles south-southeast of Charlottesville, Virginia. The system is moving east-northeast at 53 miles/hour.

The following shows the amount of US oil and natural-gas production shut-in in the Gulf of Mexico, according to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE). Oil figures are in bbl/day and gas is in millions of cubic feet (mcf)/day.

Shut-In % of output
Oil 1.57m 84.80
Natgas 1,561 57.60

Companies have evacuated 228 platforms, which account for 36% of the 643 manned platforms in the Gulf, which is unchanged from the previous day.

Four dynamically positioned rigs have moved off location out of the hurricane’s projected path as a precaution, which is two fewer than the previous day.

Meanwhile, the storm has disrupted power to almost 2.5m customers across the southeastern US.

The following table shows the number of outages reported to utility companies.

Louisiana 480,631
Georgia 918,876
Alabama 477,834
Mississippi 197,231
S Carolina 164,917
N Carolina 183,170

Source: PowerOutage.US

The power outages have caused some chemical plants in the region to shut down.

Some units at Shell's Norco, Louisiana, complex on the US Gulf Coast have been shut down by power outages caused by Hurricane Zeta, the company said on its US storm update site. The complex produces ethylene, propylene, butadiene, raffinates and other chemicals.

Cornerstone Chemical shut its acrylonitrile (ACN) and melamine plant in Waggaman, Louisiana because of power outages.

INEOS Phenol's phenol/acetone unit in Mobile, Alabama, is heard to be operational after Hurricane Zeta, according to market sources.

Roehm's MMA plant in Fortier, Louisiana, lost power due to the shutdown of the local power plant after Hurricane Zeta, according to the company. There was no significant damage at the site. Operations are expected to be restored shortly after power is restored. As of now, only a minor impact on the supply schedule is expected.

Norfolk Southern Railroad said it expects the storm will have affected local service to New Orleans and Mobile, which could impact interchange traffic in New Orleans, the railroad company said.

Union Pacific said it closed the Avondale, Louisiana intermodal terminal on Wednesday before the storm made landfall and reopened on Thursday morning.

Zeta was the sixth storm to make landfall in the US Gulf this season, and the fifth to hit Louisiana.

Additional reporting by Michael Sims, Lucas Hall and Tarun Raizada.

Click here to view the US Gulf storms – impacts on chemicals topic page.