Isaac may be a memory to some along Louisiana's Gulf Coast but the oil and natural gas industry was continuing Friday to ramp up production at some facilities still shut in after the Category 1 hurricane blew in late last month.
Based on data from offshore operator reports submitted as of 11:30 a.m. CDT Friday, the Bureau of Safety Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) estimated that about 19.43% (847.27 MMcf/d) of current daily natural gas production, and 36.35% (501,683 b/d) of daily oil output in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) remained shut in. Both numbers were down from Thursday, when the BSEE said 21.28% (957.81 MMcf/d) of natural gas production and 42.98% (593,090 b/d) of oil output was shut in, and were dramatically lower than the Aug. 30 peak of 75.52% (3.264 Bcf/d) and 94.99% (1.311 million b/d) (see NGI, Sept. 3).
Workers continue to return to production platforms that were evacuated as Isaac approached the GOM. BSEE said personnel remained evacuated Friday from six of the 596 manned production platforms, equivalent to 1.01% of the total platforms in the GOM. Personnel also remained evacuated from one of the 76 rigs in the GOM, BSEE said. Those numbers peaked Aug. 30 at 509 production platforms and 50 rigs evacuated.
Chevron Corp. on Friday said it had redeployed personnel to its offshore facilities in the GOM and was in the process of restoring production that was shut in as a result of Hurricane Isaac.
"The Pascagoula refinery [in Mississippi] continues to operate at a reduced rate," Chevron said. "The shipping channel, which provides access to the refinery for incoming vessels carrying crude oil and outgoing vessels transporting products, has reopened with restrictions. We are repairing damage to some of our product storage tanks caused by the storm as we work toward resuming normal operations."
Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. LLC last week said it had found damage on one of its offshore platforms and declared a force majeure in effect for the Bay Marchand 5 Central Gathering System. Four meters associated with Bay Marchand were shut in, but all other meters that had been shut in due to Isaac were ready to resume flow, Tennessee said Thursday.
Crosstex Energy LP said Friday morning its assets in southern Louisiana sustained no physical damage due to Isaac. The partnership's facilities along the Gulf Coast, which include six natural gas processing plants and three natural gas liquids fractionation plants, "are operational and were off-line only for a few days due to the storm," Crosstex said.
ConocoPhillips, which had shut in all production at the Magnolia platform in anticipation of Isaac's arrival in the GOM, said no damage was found at the facility. Anadarko Petroleum Corp. restored production at all of its operated, producing facilities in the eastern and central GOM, including the natural gas Independence Hub, by last Tuesday.
By midweek Royal Dutch Shell plc's manufacturing facilities at Norco, Convent and Geismar, LA, and Mobile, AL, were restarting their operations and were operating at either reduced or near-normal rates.
Williams, whose Williams Partners LP operates a long list of gas processing and pipeline facilities along the Gulf Coast and in the GOM, said its onshore and offshore facilities in the eastern and central GOM "received no major damage during Hurricane Isaac." Williams' Mobile Bay gas processing plant was ready to begin processing gas "as soon as producer volumes increase and a third-party natural gas liquid pipeline becomes available," the company said Wednesday, and the Geismar olefins production facility plans to resume operations this week following several days of maintenance unrelated to Isaac.
The onshore Larose gas processing plant and the Paradis fractionator have both returned to service, the Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line interstate system "is returning to normal operations as producers bring more production online," and the Devils Tower floating production system was flowing some gas production, Williams said.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has temporarily waived some federal clean gasoline requirements for gasoline sold and distributed in eight states impacted by Hurricane Isaac. The waiver allows available supplies of higher Reid Vapor Pressure "wintertime" gasoline to be used during the remainder of the high ozone period, which was scheduled to end this week (Sept. 15).
"Due to a number of continuing refinery outages caused by Hurricane Isaac, and the slower-than-expected-pace of restarts of other Gulf-area refineries, EPA determined that there would not be an adequate supply of summertime gasoline for these states through Sept. 15," EPA said.
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