Gulf Coast energy companies got a boost from the reopening of ports and restart of oil refineries shut by Hurricane Ida, but damage to key facilities is still affecting oil production.
The ninth named storm of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season cut more US oil and gas production than any of the eight named storms to strike the US Gulf Coast last year. After landfall in Louisiana last Sunday, Ida raced to the US northeast, causing deadly flooding.
Royal Dutch Shell Plc, the largest US Gulf Coast producer, was still evaluating damage to its West Delta-143 offshore platform, which when operating transfers about 200,000 barrels of oil and gas per day from three offshore oil fields.
Shell’s work on a replacement heliport needed to ferry offshore continues, Shell said. Damage to its original facility prevented a return of offshore workers to platforms.
Several Louisiana heliports were damaged or without power and access to fuel, slowing crew returns at several major oil producers.
Shell’s 230,611 barrel-per-day (bpd) Norco, Louisiana, oil processing plant also remained knocked out by the storm. The refinery sustained damage and assessments continue on its status and at a Geismar, Louisiana, chemical plant, the company said.
The White House agreed to provide a combined 1.8 million barrels of crude oil from the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to refiners Exxon Mobil Corp and Placid Refining Company to produce gasoline.
Nine refineries were knocked offline by Ida’s winds and utility power losses. Five, including those owned by Exxon, Placid and Marathon Petroleum Corp could be back online by within two weeks, estimated Robert Campbell, head of oil products research at consultancy Energy Aspects.
About 21 percent of offshore platforms remained unoccupied, and 93 percent of oil production and 86 percent of natural gas output were offline, government data released on Saturday showed. Some wells in the Gulf of Mexico, which accounts for about a fifth of US output, could be shut for weeks, analysts said.
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