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Gulf of Mexico oil and gas operations returning to normal after Tropical Storm Beta


Shell redeploying personnel to Perdido platform

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Houston — Oil and gas operations in the US Gulf of Mexico are returning to normal following the passing of Tropical Storm Beta and Hurricane Sally.

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Shell said Sept. 23 it started redeploying workers to its Perdido platform in the western Gulf, where its 100,000 boe/d were shut in from Beta. Shell also said it resumed drilling operations at its Mars platform.

As of Sept. 22, 131,690 b/d of crude production remained offline from the Gulf, which is about 7.1% of the Gulf's total oil output, while roughly 130 Mmcf/d of natural gas volumes, or 4.8%, remained shut in, according to the US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement. Only 21 platforms were still evacuated, down from more than 150 facilities ahead of Sally.

BSEE's Sept. 22 release was its final post-storm report. However, the upcoming return of Perdido output will further cut into the offline production.

This year has proven the busiest Atlantic storm season since 2005, with 2020 marking just the second time ever that named storms have dipped into the Greek alphabet. While there currently are no more named storms active in the Gulf or the Atlantic Ocean outside of Teddy near Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, according to the National Hurricane Center, the hurricane season still runs through the end of November.

The bevy of storms has disrupted both crude oil and LNG shipments in Texas and Louisiana in recent weeks.

The Port of Corpus Christi, which is the nation's top crude-exporting hub, said it has resumed normal operations after Beta. The Corpus Christi refining system maintained operations during the storm, according to Valero Energy and Citgo Petroleum.

In the Gulf, Hurricane Sally managed take more than 30% of the offshore oil and gas production offline earlier this month. In late August the stronger Hurricane Laura managed to shutter nearly 85% of Gulf oil production -- more than 1.5 million b/d -- and 2.3 million b/d of refining capacity.

Refineries still down

Close to 1 million b/d of crude refining capacity though is still offline in Louisiana following the recent storms.

Phillips 66's 255,600 b/d Alliance refinery in Belle Chasse, Louisiana, was shut in advance of Sally. And, although the storm missed almost all of southeastern Louisiana, Phillips 66 said the Alliance refinery will remain closed for for maintenance originally scheduled for October.

Two major refineries -- Phillips 66's and Citgo's Lake Charles refineries in southwestern Louisiana -- still remain shuttered after sustaining damage and the loss of power from Laura.

Electricity provider Entergy, which is rebuilding the destroyed transmission lines to the refinery and other facilities, has said it hopes to restore power by the end of September.