Ida idles nearly all of Gulf of Mexico oil and gas production
Nearly all of the offshore oil and gas production in the US waters of the Gulf of Mexico is offline because of Tropical Storm Ida, the US government reported August 29.
Ida strengthened to a dangerous category 4 hurricane during the weekend, but lost strength quickly after making landfall August 29 in Louisiana. More than a half million people lost power after 160 km/hour winds hammered the southern US Coast.
As of August 29, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), part of the Interior Department, reported that 95.7% of offshore oil production and 93.8% of the natural gas production was shut in because of Ida. Companies such as BP, Chevron and other majors started evacuating staff late last week as the storm approached. BSEE reported that 288 platforms were evacuated, accounting for 51% of those situated in the Gulf of Mexico. All of the 11 stationary rigs were evacuated.
The Gulf coastal region is home to a dense network of refineries. Three hurricanes in 2017 – Irma, Harvey and Maria – caused havoc for area refineries, creating gasoline shortages across the country.
Port closures could be impacted as well, limiting oil and gas export and imports. That will be certain to upend markets for weeks based on the usual price response to oil and gas inventory levels published each Wednesday by the US Energy Information Administration. Inventory declines are usually an indication of strong demand, though data will be skewed heavily by the impact of Ida.
Elsewhere, most of the nation’s export facilities for LNG are situated along the Gulf Coast. Cameron LNG, the company that runs the Louisiana export facility bearing its name, said in an August 28 statement that while Ida was not expected to impact operations, it had nonetheless activated its hurricane preparedness plan.
Operators at US LNG facilities told NGW on August 27 they did not expect any major impacts from the storm.