Offshore oil and gas operators in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) were re-boarding platforms and rigs and restoring production Friday as the remnants of Hermine, weakened again to tropical storm strength, moved northeast across North Carolina and toward the Atlantic Ocean, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) said.
BSEE estimated that 192,791 b/d, or 12.04% of the current oil production in the GOM was shut in Friday, down from 15.18% on Thursday (see Daily GPI, Sept. 1), and 229 MMcf/d, or 6.74% of natural gas production, down from 9.03% 24 hours earlier.
Based on data from offshore operator reports submitted through 11:30 a.m. CDT Friday, there were no remaining evacuated production platforms in the GOM, BSEE said. On Thursday, 10 production platforms had remained evacuated. In addition, personnel had returned to all 11 rigs currently operating in the GOM, according to the agency.
Hermine made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane near St. Marks, FL, early Friday morning. More than 253,000 residents of the state lost power, including 91% or residents of Wakulla County, as Hermine raced northeast into Georgia, according to Florida Gov. Rick Scott's office.
By 2 pm EDT Friday, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said Tropical Storm Hermine was heading into the low country of South Carolina, with maximum sustained winds of 50 mph. The storm was expected to move across coastal South Carolina and North Carolina into the night and move offshore of the North Carolina coast on Saturday.
"Strengthening is forecast once the center of Hermine moves offshore Saturday afternoon," NHC said.
It was then expected to hit coastal areas of the mid-Atlantic with rough surf, heavy rain, gusty winds and cooler temperatures during Labor Day weekend, according to AccuWeather forecasters. But warmer weather was expected to return after Labor Day.