Another producer that operates in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) said Thursday that hurricanes Gustav and Ike cut into its projected 2008 oil and natural gas production forecasts. Meanwhile, the Minerals Management Service (MMS) reported that 56.4% of the GOM’s usual gas output of 7.4 Bcf/d still was shut in, which is a gain of less than 1% in 24 hours.

Based on reports from 63 operators, the MMS stated that 59.3% of the usual oil production of 1.3 million b/d also remained shut in. MMS reported on Wednesday that 57.1% of the offshore gas output and 62.5% of the oil output was shut in (see Daily GPI, Sept. 25). Of its revised total of 694 manned platforms in the offshore, MMS said 179, or 25.9%, remained evacuated Thursday. Three of 116 manned rigs also remained evacuated.

Louisiana’s Department of Natural Resources reported that 35%, or 574 MMcf/d, of the state’s usual daily gas production of 1,642 MMcf/d, had been restored late Wednesday. The estimated amount of shut-in gas output was 755 MMcf/d; the status of the remaining 312 MMcf/d still had not been confirmed. Thirty-four percent of the state’s usual oil production, or 52,916 b/d of 155,767 b/d, had been restored.

Houston-based Newfield Exploration Co. Thursday estimated that the two storms this month will result in deferred production of about 5 Bcfe net. Newfield’s net production capacity in the GOM is around 65 MMcfe/d from eight facilities; the GOM represents about 8% of the company’s total daily output volumes. Earlier this week Nexen Inc. said it would have substantially lower GOM output because of the storms (see Daily GPI, Sept. 25).

“The deferrals arise from damage to two nonoperated host facilities in deepwater and the loss of one operated facility in shallow water,” Newfield stated. “In addition, production has been temporarily impacted by curtailments in South Texas due to demand loss following the storms.” Total company production guidance for 2008 now is estimated at 234-238 Bcfe, compared with an earlier forecast of 238-242 Bcfe. Adjusted for asset sales and acquisitions, Newfield’s revised production estimates for 2008 compare with 2007 actually will be about 24% higher.

Shell Oil Co., the largest U.S. producer in the GOM, reported Thursday that several of its operated assets remained shut in for hurricane repairs, maintenance or because of third-party infrastructure repairs. Shell-operated GOM assets produce peak gross rates of around 500,000 boe/d. Production ramp-up has been slow, and Shell estimates its current output is 32,000 boe/d gross.

Shell said it has “accelerated” its scheduled maintenance on its Mars, Ursa and West Delta 143 platforms and “expect them to be back on line by the end of next week,” which would be Oct. 3. Other Shell-operated assets slated to ramp in the coming week are Brutus and South Timbalier 301. By the week of Oct. 6 Shell said that its Auger and Enchilada assets would be back on-line.

“We are back to pre-hurricane offshore staffing levels with about 1,270 personnel manning our facilities,” said a Shell spokesperson.

In other news, seven major natural gas pipes in the Gulf Coast area continued to report complete shut-ins of their systems Thursday morning, said the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Electricity Delivery & Energy Reliability. The remaining pipelines reported that portions of their systems remained at reduced levels.

The High Island Offshore System’s (HIOS) force majeure, declared before Hurricane Ike struck the Gulf Coast, remained in effect after the pipeline reported that a 42-inch diameter mainline was “damaged and detached,” DOE stated. The length of the line that needs to be replaced had not been determined, and HIOS stated that three points along a lateral that were not damaged by Ike had been cleared to flow gas. Only one of the four delivery points with an interconnection with the ANR Pipeline was available.

However, both Manta Ray Offshore Gathering and Nautilus Pipeline lifted their force majeure, DOE reported. Manta Ray said that only the delivery point to Nautilus was open for gas flow and the other three delivery points with ANR, Transco and Trunkline remained unavailable. Nautilus added that gas flow to Louisiana Intrastate Gas and Gulf South interconnects were available.

Of the 39 major gas processing plants along the Gulf Coast impacted by Ike and/or Gustav, seven, with total operating capacity of 4.68 Bcf/d remained shut down, the Energy Information Administration noted.

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