US Gulf braced for ‘Nate’

Oct 06 2017

Oil and natural gas operators began evacuating staff and halting production at US Gulf of Mexico platforms on Thursday ahead of Tropical Storm ‘Nate’.

According to a Reuters report, ‘Nate is due to touch Honduras and Mexico, enter the Gulf and strengthen into a hurricane before making landfall this weekend in Louisiana, near several major refineries.

Its path will take it through an area populated by offshore oil and natural gas platforms, which pump more than 1.6 mill barrels of crude per day, about 17% of US output, according to government data.

About 14.6% of US Gulf oil production, equalling 254,607 barrels per day, was offline on Thursday, the US Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) said.

BP and Chevron closed production at all Gulf platforms, while Shell and Anadarko Petroleum suspended some production and some drilling activity in the Gulf. ExxonMobil, Statoil and other producers have evacuated personnel from their platforms.

Marathon Oil Corp and ConocoPhillips said they were monitoring ;Nate’s; path but have taken no action by Thursday evening, Reuters said.

Since Hurricane Harvey’ caused devastation in the Gulf, several Texas ports are still closed to large tankers, as they await dredging. A few large tankers were diverted to Louisiana ports, some of which are now in Nate’s projected path.

The Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP) had not suspended operations and vessel activity around it continued as normal, officials said on Thursday.

All Louisiana ports were open as authorities and the US Coast Guard monitored the storm, according to the Port Association of Louisiana.   

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