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Oil, gas majors continue assessing Gulf of Mexico operations damage from Hurricane Ida


No damage to Hoover platform: ExxonMobil

Mars, Ursa, Olympus output hubs intact: Shell

Chevron assesses onshore installations post-storm

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  • Starr Spencer
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  • Geetha Narayanasamy
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  • United States

More oil and gas exploration and production companies late Aug. 30 said they were currently assessing damage from Hurricane Ida's devastating winds and torrential rains, a day after the storm slammed the Louisiana coast.

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Shell said it conducted a flyover for an initial assessment of assets in the path of the storm and was able to confirm that its Mars, Olympus and Ursa platforms are "all intact and on location."

"We are still assessing the full results of the flyover and are also working to conduct assessments of land-based infrastructure critical to the safe resumption of production," Shell said, updating earlier information about the platforms.

Moreover, "our floating production, storage and offloading [FPSO] vessel, the Turritella, has resumed production" from the Stones field, the company said. "Our Perdido asset in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico remained on line throughout Hurricane Ida," since it was well out of Ida's path.

However, the company has other US Gulf assets offshore Louisiana: Auger, Enchilada/Salsa and Appomattox that it took offline as Ida whipped through the US Gulf of Mexico in the days prior to making landfall Aug. 29.

"All other assets remain shut in and fully evacuated at this time," the company said.

Ida struck land southwest of New Orleans as a strong Category 4 storm Aug. 29, packing winds of 150 miles/hour and gusts even higher than that.

Shell late Aug. 29 said the US Coast Guard had flown over its producing platforms in the area for a "general assessment," and found "visual confirmation" that Mars, Olympus and Ursa platforms remained on location.

"We will continue to monitor weather reports and conditions on the ground across southeast Louisiana and respond accordingly," Shell said.

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No damage to Hoover platform

ExxonMobil said there was "no damage" to its Hoover platform that was evacuated as Ida approached the Louisiana coast over the weekend.

"We are returning crews to the platform, and have begun the process of resuming normal operations," the company said.

ExxonMobil's Baton Rouge Fuels Terminal resumed operations after closing the previous day, it added.

"Over the past week, the fuels terminal has provided nearly 190,000 barrels of fuel, enough to fill more than 990 truckloads or nearly 8 million gallons of fuel to southeast Louisiana," the company said.

BP said it had mobilized to assess potential damage to the company's operated US Gulf facilities and supporting infrastructure.

The company's employees will remain evacuated and production will remain shut-in "until we have confirmation that our platforms are able to operate safely, and pipeline companies have confirmed the operability of offshore pipelines," BP said in a statement.

"We are also confirming that our shore-based transportation and receiving systems are working, and will ensure we receive regulatory approvals required prior to start-up," BP said, but added: "At this time, we cannot predict how long this process will take."

Chevron said its production remains shut-in at its operated US Gulf of Mexico platforms. The Fourchon terminal and Empire terminal and their related pipeline systems also remain shut-in.

While Chevron did not specifically state which platforms were shut-in, some of its operated production platforms situated in or near Ida's path were Tahiti, Jack/St Malo and Big Foot.

Chevron gauges onshore assets post-storm

Moreover, at Chevron's remaining onshore locations, "we are conducting post-storm assessments," the company said in a statement.

The bulk of US Gulf production remained offline Aug. 30, as for many companies it may take time to assess damages from Ida.

On Aug. 30, 1.72 million b/d of the Gulf's crude oil production, or 94.6% of the region's roughly 1.8 million b/d, remained shut-in. That compares to nearly 95.7% a day earlier, the US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, said in its daily update.

The same day, 2 Bcf/d of natural gas output was shut in, or 93.5%, compared to 93.8% the previous day. The Gulf's pre-storm gas output was about 2.2 Bcf/d.

In all, 288 platforms remain evacuated in the US Gulf, or 51.43% of the region's total, BSEE said. That is unchanged from Aug. 29. BSEE will likely provide another update on Aug. 31.

"While it is too early to assess if any significant damage occurred to offshore platforms, offshore production has historically bounced back to pre-storm levels roughly 10 days after initial declines are observed," S&P Global Platts Analytics said in a late Aug. 29 Spotlight report.