Tropical Storm Barry Costs 5 to 6 Bcf in Production

As much as 5-6 Bcf of gas production was lost due to shut-ins as Tropical Storm Barry lingered in the Gulf of Mexico from Friday through Sunday a week ago, before moving ashore and dissipating into heavy rain Monday.

An informal tally by NGI showed as much as 2.3 Bcf/d was offline during the two and a half days Barry hovered over the Gulf. The shut-ins appeared to have little effect on the cash market, however. El Paso with the most exposure, lost the most. Its Southern Natural Gas was still missing about 500 MMcf/d at mid-afternoon last Monday, while its Tennessee Gas Pipeline was down 390 MMcf/d over the weekend and ANR shut-ins had risen to 300 MMcf/d Sunday. El Paso's Viosca Knoll natural gas gathering system, located offshore Louisiana in deepwater was completely shut in, curtailing 500 MMcf/d. Both Tennessee and ANR were fully operational Monday. In the meantime, markets for all the El Paso-operated lines were kept whole with storage withdrawals, the spokesman said.

All producers connected to Destin Pipeline were shut in over the weekend, a spokesman said. About 250 MMcf/d had been restored last Monday out of normal throughput of 800 MMcf/d, but Destin was making no deliveries until its linepack was back to normal, which the spokesman estimated would be sometime Tuesday. Duke's Texas Eastern Transmission lost at least 90 MMcf/d during the storm. At the height of Chevron's curtailment in preparation for Tropical Storm Barry, Chevron Spokesman Jeff Moore said 118,000 b/d of oil and 452 MMcf/d of natural gas were offline.

"At the height of our evacuations, we safely evacuated about 1,500 employees from locations across the Gulf of Mexico," said Moore.

Construction on the $1.7 billion Gulfstream pipeline project, which will extend from Alabama across the Gulf of Mexico to the western shore of Florida, was temporarily halted as a safety precaution as the warnings associated with Tropical Storm Barry grew more dire. A mammoth deep-water barge (550 feet long, with a crew of 450), which is stringing the pipe together and laying it on the Gulf floor, "capped off the pipeline" to move itself out of the path of the on-coming storm, said Gulfstream spokesman Chris Stockton."

He called it a "minor delay," and said last Monday the deep-water barge "may very well be back en route to pick up where it left off" more than three days ago. The barge has completed 45 miles of the nearly 400 miles to be laid in the deeper waters of the Gulf, and is looking to finish in late October, Stockton said.

A smaller barge, which is laying Gulfstream pipe in the shallow waters near Tampa, FL, has been unaffected by the storm, he told NGI. It has completed six-seven miles so far of this 30-mile portion of the pipeline project, which is jointly sponsored by Duke Energy and Williams.

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