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Producers take more than 80% of US Gulf oil offline ahead of Hurricane Delta

Highlights

Shell, BP, Chevron shutting in all operated Gulf platforms

Shell, others preparing potential closures of Louisiana refineries

Roughly 2.4 million b/d of refinery capacity in path

Houston — About 80% of US Gulf of Mexico oil production was offline late Oct. 7, with more expected to come down in advance of Hurricane Delta.

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Nearly 1.49 million b/d of US Gulf of Mexico crude production and 1,335 MMcf/d of natural gas output was shut in Oct. 7, 80.42% and 49.26% of total offshore output, respectively, according to the US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement. BSEE said 183 of the Gulf's platforms and rigs were evacuated, almost 30% of the Gulf's operating facilities offshore.

The storm, which is expected to make a Louisiana landfall on Oct. 9 as a major Category 3 hurricane, is taking the bulk of Gulf oil and gas flows offline this week before Gulf Coast refining operations in Louisiana are potentially impacted as well. The offshore Gulf of Mexico is home to roughly 1.9 million b/d of crude production capacity, according to the US Energy Information Administration.

Related: Hurricane Delta could hit Louisiana petchem hubs already affected by Laura

A bevy of tropical storms and hurricanes have disrupted oil and gas operations in the Gulf this year for what could end up as the most active Atlantic storm season in recorded history, potentially surpassing the record-setting season in 2005.

Shell, BP and Chevron said they are taking the extra steps of shutting in production at all of their operated Gulf platforms and facilities.

"As a precautionary measure, Shell has shut in production at all nine of its assets and is evacuating all personnel," Shell said in an Oct. 7 statement. "We are in the process of safely pausing all drilling operations."

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Shell also cited potential closures of its Louisiana refineries in Convent and Norco, and its chemicals plant in Geismar.

BP said Oct. 6 it is shutting in production and evacuating its four offshore platforms: Thunder Horse, Atlantis, Mad Dog and Na Kika. Likewise, Chevron is shutting in production and evacuating crews from all of its Gulf platforms.

Crude exports from Louisiana are feeling the impact as well. A LOOP spokesperson said Oct. 7 that the offshore port's marine terminal has suspended operations in advance of the storm.

As for other smaller deepwater Gulf players, Norway's Equinor evacuated and shut down its Titan platform, company spokesman Erik Haaland said in an email Oct. 6.

BHP was doing likewise at its operated Shenzi and Neptune platforms, company spokeswoman Judy Dane said, adding BHP plans to be fully evacuated and the platforms shut-in by Oct. 7.

Occidental Petroleum said it is closely tracking the storm.

Likewise, Murphy Oil evacuated personnel from certain facilities.

WAITING ONSHORE

Hurricane Delta's projected path has shifted west, meaning fewer refineries are currently in the direct path of the storm. Still, a combined 2.4 million b/d of operating capacity is in the path of Delta in Texas and Louisiana.

Area refiners have yet to report any shutdowns, but there is still time ahead of the storm's landfall to do so if necessary.

Roughly 813,500 b/d of capacity in the path of the storm remains offline from previous hurricanes, including the Phillips 66 and Citgo Petroleum refineries near Lake Charles.

Refineries potentially affected by Delta
Refinery Plant Capacity (b/d) Status
Louisiana
Alon Krotz Springs 80,000 Operating
Placid Port Allen 75,000 Operating
ExxonMobil Baton Rouge 517,700 Operating
Shell Oil Convent 211,146 Operating, monitoring
CITGO Lake Charles 418,000 Shut by Laura- back mid-to-late October
Phillips 66 Westlake 260,000 Shut by Laura- back early December
Calcasieu Refining Calcasieu 135,500 Shut Aug.1 for poor economics
Texas
Motiva Port Arthur 630,000 Operating
Valero Port Arthur 335,000 Operating, monitoring
Total Port Arthur 225,500 Operating
ExxonMobil Beaumont 366,000 Operating
Total 3,253,846
Offline 813,500
Operating 2,440,346