US Gulf producers restore half oil output post-Ida
By By Stephen Cunningham / Argus Media
Petroleumworld 09 13 2021
Offshore oil operators have brought back about half of the oil production they were forced to shut in because of Hurricane Ida, which crashed ashore at Port Fourchon, Louisiana, two weeks ago in Louisiana.
The volume of offshore oil output still off line was at 49pc, or 883,755 b/d, as of 12:30pm ET today, according to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE). That compares with 62pc, or 1.121mn b/d, yesterday. About 54pc of offshore natural gas output was also shut-in.
Operators had struggled in the immediate aftermath of the hurricane, which damaged offshore assets — including a key Shell transfer station — and knocked out power to onshore support facilities. The slow pace at which production was being brought back had prompted fears of prolonged disruptions.
In an update today, Shell said its Appomattox platform is back on line and the Enchilada/Salsa and Auger platforms are ramping up production. The Mars, Ursa, and Olympus platforms are being restaffed but remain offline as the company says it continues to assess damage at a key shallow-water pumping station, the West Delta-143 platform.
The company declared a force majeure last week on numerous crude delivery contracts because of damage to West Delta 143, which moved 233,000 b/d of Mars crude from Mars, Olympus and Ursa in the first seven months of the year.
Meanwhile, Chevron has returned essential staff to its facilities and restored partial production at the Jack St. Malo and Blind Faith platforms.
"Our other facilities that were shut-in for Ida are ready to produce once pipeline export routes resume operations," Chevron said last week.
The Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP), which suspended deliveries ahead of Ida, appears to have restarted some operations, according to a company notice late last week. LOOP "continues to work with shippers to receive and deliver crude oil to regional refineries," the company said. LOOP also said that "the supply chain is functioning."
Onshore, more refineries that were shut or damaged by Ida are continuing to come back (see table).
Shell said its 250,000 b/d Norco refinery has been able to receive limited power which is helping it to create more efficient, less-smokey flares. There is still no time given for restart.
ExxonMobil told Argus it's 500,000 b/d Baton Rouge refinery has completed restart procedures and is operating normally. The Baton Rouge facility was the first shut-in refinery in Louisiana to announce a restart after Ida's landfall on 29 August, but has had challenges accessing reliable power and crude feedstocks in ensuing weeks.
The refinery was granted a second loan of 1.5mn bl of crude from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) last week.
The largest refinery in Louisiana, Marathon Petroleum's 565,000 b/d Garyville site, has also achieved a "successful restart" after securing reliable power, the company told Argus.
Offshore and onshore recovery work may be hampered this week by tropical storm Nicholas, the 14th named storm of this year's hurricane season, which formed in southwestern corner of the Gulf of Mexico over the weekend. The storm is expected to sweep up the southern coast of Texas in the next few days, and could strike the refining and crude export hub of Corpus Christi.