Oil and gas drilling activity in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) is returning to normal after last week's visit by Hurricane Isaac, and workers being redeployed to offshore facilities are finding no major storm-related damage, according to the Bureau of Safety Environmental Enforcement (BSEE).

"Reports indicate mainly minor damage at this point," BSEE said Tuesday afternoon.

Based on data from offshore operator reports submitted as of 11:30 a.m. CDT Tuesday, BSEE estimated that about 29% (1.309 Bcf/d) of the current daily natural gas production, and 51.51% (710,866 b/d) of daily oil output in the GOM was shut in. Those numbers were down significantly from the peak reached on Thursday, when BSEE reported 75.52% (3.264 Bcf/d) of gas production and 94.99% (1.311 million b/d) of oil production was shut in (see Daily GPI, Aug. 31).

Personnel remained evacuated Tuesday from 21 of the 596 manned production platforms, equivalent to 3.52% of the total platforms in the GOM. Personnel also remained evacuated from two of the 76 rigs in the GOM, BSEE said. On Thursday those numbers peaked at 509 production platforms and 50 rigs evacuated.

Anadarko Petroleum Corp., which began restaffing all of its operated, producing facilities in the eastern and central GOM Friday, said Tuesday morning it had restored production at the facilities, including the natural gas Independence Hub. "We continue to ramp up volumes to pre-storm levels at these facilities as third party-operated pipelines and infrastructure allow," Anadarko said.

Royal Dutch Shell plc began inspections and damage assessments of its GOM facilities on Thursday, and by Sunday it reported that its manufacturing facilities at Norco, Convent and Geismar, LA, and Mobile, AL, were in the process of re-starting units. The Shell-operated Capline pipeline was restarted on Thursday. BP plc and Chevron began redeploying offshore personnel to GOM facilities last week.

ConocoPhillips, which had shut in all production at the Magnolia platform in anticipation of Isaac's arrival in the GOM, said no damage had been found at the facility during an inspection late last week.

Entergy said Tuesday it had restored power to 92% of the 769,000 customers in Louisiana and Mississippi who were without electricity on Thursday.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) on Tuesday was tracking two tropical storms in the Atlantic, but neither was expected to approach North America. Tropical Storm Leslie was located about 525 miles south-southeast of Bermuda and was expected to reach Bermuda this weekend. The 13th named storm of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season, Tropical Storm Michael, formed more than 1,200 miles southwest of the Azores early Tuesday, NHC said, and was expected to move slowly northward over the eastern Atlantic.

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