News Code : 45243

Adds BSEE data, other storm updates.

Offshore oil and natural gas operators are shutting facilities in the US Gulf of Mexico as Hurricane Sally heads for landfall on the Louisiana-Mississippi coast.

About 396,000 b/d or 21pc of total offshore production has been shut in so far, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) said today. About one-fourth, or 685mn cf/d, of offshore natural gas production was also offline. The number of evacuated platforms was 147 or 23pc of the total, BSEE said.

Chevron has shut in and evacuated all personnel from its Blind Faith and Petronius platforms and shut in its Empire and Fourchon terminals along the Mississippi River and related pipeline systems.

Marine operations at the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP) were suspended starting over the weekend. LOOP, about 20 miles (32km) off the coast from Grand Isle, Louisiana, is the only US port capable of fully loading Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCCs).

BP has secured offshore facilities and evacuated non-essential personnel from the Nakika and Thunderhorse platforms.

Shell is curtailing some production at its Olympus, Mars and Appomattox facilities platform to prepare for potential impacts.

Onshore facilities are also preparing for the storm. Phillips 66 is shutting its 289,000 b/d Alliance refinery in Belle Chasse, Louisiana. The shut-down should be complete today.

The US Coast Guard will close ports in its New Orleans, Louisiana, region to all vessel traffic at 7pm ET. This includes the ports of Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Plaquemines, South Louisiana, St Bernard and the Venice Port Complex.

The ports of Mobile, Alabama, and Biloxi and Pascagoula in Mississippi are already closed.

Sally was upgraded to a hurricane today, threatening areas from southeastern Louisiana to the Mississippi and Alabama coasts. It is expected to make landfall early tomorrow morning, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Sally is the third storm to hit the Gulf coast region in recent weeks. Hurricane Laura made landfall on 27 August near Cameron, Louisiana, as a Category 4 hurricane reaching sustained winds of 150mph (241 km/h). Laura came on the heels of tropical storm Marco, which weakened significantly before making landfall on 24 August.

About 1.6mn b/d of offshore crude production was shut in because of those two storms, the BSEE said. Lingering power outages from Laura have slowed the repair and restart of about 810,000 b/d of western Louisiana refining capacity.

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Source : Argus

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