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Gulf Post-Storm Production Returning Slowly

October 6, 2008
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As of about noon CDT Friday 44.6% of the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) natural gas production was shut in out of normal production of 7.4 Bcf/d, and 48.2% of oil production was shut in out of normal production of 1.3 million b/d, following the ravages of hurricanes Gustav and Ike in late August and mid-September, the Minerals Management Service (MMS) said.

These figures compared with 46.1% of gas production and 55% of oil production estimate by MMS to be shut in as reported in its Thursday notice.

Based on data from 63 offshore operators' reports submitted as of 11:30 a.m. CDT Friday, personnel were evacuated from 116 production platforms, equivalent to 16.7% of the 694 manned platforms in the GOM. Personnel from one rig were evacuated, equivalent to 0.9% of the 116 rigs currently operating in the GOM, MMS said.

On Monday (Sept. 29) MMS reported that both natural gas and oil shut ins had declined to less than 50%. However MMS revised its estimate of oil production shut ins higher the following day due to data errors . Last Wednesday MMS said some operators had failed to report data, making its estimates of shut ins for the previous two days invalid.

As of Friday morning the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that seven major gas pipelines in the Gulf Coast area were completely shut in. This marked an increase of two pipelines from a previous situation report as both Nautilus and Manta Ray pipelines had declared force majeure events on Wednesday that impacted all points along their systems.

Also as of Friday morning EIA reported that five gas processing plants remained shut down, which included plants impacted by Gustav. The shut-in plants represent capacity of 3.18 Bcf/d, or 18% of the capacity in Ike's path. EIA said 29 plants had resumed operations at reduced or normal levels with total operating capacity of 10.92 Bcf/d. Four plants said they were capable of restarting once upstream gas flows are sufficient. These plants have a combined capacity of 3.36 Bcf/d.

In Louisiana the state's Department of Natural Resources on Thursday estimated that 712 MMcf/d, or 43% of normal production of 1,642 MMcf/d, had been restored. The estimated amount of shut-in gas production was 648 MMcf/d, with the status of the remaining 282 MMcf/d unconfirmed.

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