Offshore oil companies have reopened nearly half of the oil production that was shut down due to Hurricane Ida, which hit Port Fourchon, Louisiana, two weeks ago.
According to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, offshore oil operators have raised the volume of offshore oil output remaining off line to 883,755 b/d (BSEE). This compared to 62 percent, or 1.121 million barrels per day, yesterday. A total of 54 percent of offshore natural gas production was also halted.
In the immediate aftermath of the hurricane, which destroyed offshore assets and cut out electricity to onshore support facilities, operators had struggled. Fears of long-term interruptions had been raised due to the sluggish rate with which production was being restored. Hurricane Ida, which slammed into Port Fourchon in Louisiana two weeks ago, prompted them to shut down roughly half of their oil output.
In an update today, Shell said its Appomattox platform is back on line and the Enchilada/Salsa and Auger platforms are ramping up production. The Mars, Ursa, and Olympus platforms are being restaffed but remain offline as the company says it continues to assess damage at a key shallow-water pumping station, the West Delta-143 platform.
The company declared a force majeure last week on numerous crude delivery contracts because of damage to West Delta 143, which moved 233,000 b/d of Mars crude from Mars, Olympus and Ursa in the first seven months of the year.
However, Chevron has reestablished partial production at the Jack St. Malo and Blind Faith platforms and rehired key personnel.
“Once pipeline export lines restart operations, our other facilities that were shut down for Ida are ready to produce,” Chevron said last week.
According to a corporate notification issued late last week, the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP), which had halted supplies ahead of Hurricane Ida, appears to have resumed some operations. The business stated that it “continues to cooperate with shippers to receive and transport crude oil to area refineries.” “The supply chain is operational,” LOOP said.
Onshore, more refineries that were shut or damaged by Ida are continuing to come back (see table).
Shell said its 250,000 b/d Norco refinery has been able to receive limited power which is helping it to create more efficient, less-smokey flares. There is still no time given for restart.
ExxonMobil told Argus it’s 500,000 b/d Baton Rouge refinery has completed restart procedures and is operating normally. The Baton Rouge facility was the first shut-in refinery in Louisiana to announce a restart after Ida’s landfall on 29 August, but has had challenges accessing reliable power and crude feedstocks in ensuing weeks.
The refinery was granted a second loan of 1.5mn bl of crude from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) last week.
The largest refinery in Louisiana, Marathon Petroleum’s 565,000 b/d Garyville site, has also achieved a “successful restart” after securing reliable power, the company told Argus.
Offshore and onshore recovery work may be hampered this week by tropical storm Nicholas, the 14th named storm of this year’s hurricane season, which formed in southwestern corner of the Gulf of Mexico over the weekend. The storm is expected to sweep up the southern coast of Texas in the next few days, and could strike the refining and crude export hub of Corpus Christi.