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Less than 25% of US Gulf crude still offline after hurricanes Ida, Nicholas

Highlights

Shell restored production to Perdido platform

Chevron restarting Petronius platform

About 95% of power restored in Louisiana after Ida

Less than a quarter of crude production remains offline in the US Gulf of Mexico -- and about one-third of natural gas output -- nearly three weeks after Hurricane Ida ravaged the Louisiana Gulf Coast.

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After 95% of US Gulf oil and gas production was shut in near the end of August as Category 4 Ida made a Louisiana landfall, 422,078 b/d of crude, or 23.2%, remained offline Sept. 17, according to the US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.

The return of natural gas supplies continued to lag a bit more than oil. An estimated 765.5 Mcf/d, or 34.4%, of natural gas production was still shut in, BSEE said.

Shell said it has restored production at its 100,000 b/d of oil equivalent Perdido platform late Sept. 16 in the Western Gulf of Mexico after it was temporarily shut in because of Hurricane Nicholas' heavy winds early this week.

Because of its track hugging the Texas coastline, Nicholas did not cause much Gulf production to come offline -- unlike Hurricane Ida in late August -- but Perdido's position in the westernmost deepwater Gulf made it more exposed to Nicholas.

Shell had been waiting for downstream facilities that lost electricity to come back online before restoring production to Perdido. Williams Cos. said late Sept. 15 that its pipeline and processing facilities were ready to receive natural gas from the Perdido platform. Shell spokesperson Curtis Smith confirmed Perdido is now restarted.

Apart from Perdido, Shell said its Appomattox, Enchilada/Salsa and Auger assets continued to ramp up production following Ida. As of Sept. 15, Shell's Mars, Ursa and Olympus assets remained shut in. Shell said damage assessments continued at its West Delta-143 offshore facility, which serves as a transportation hub to onshore facilities.

Chevron said Sept. 16 it had redeployed essential personnel to all of its Chevron-operated facilities and restored full production at its Blind Faith asset and partial production at the Jack St. Malo, Big Foot and Tahiti platforms. Chevron said the Petronius facility also was resuming production.

Pipelines and power

In Texas, operations are mostly back to normal after Nicholas. Colonial Pipeline said it resumed normal flows early Sept. 15, restoring the major fuel artery to normal operations. Colonial initially shut down both Line 1 and Line 2 from the Houston area because of customers' power outages disrupting supply chains.

Onshore in Louisiana, Chevron said it completed its assessment of its Empire Terminal and approved it for receipts. All crude deliveries from Empire are approved other than deliveries to Phillips 66's Alliance Refinery, which is expected to remain closed for some time.

Chevron said its Fourchon Terminal is approved for all deepwater sour crude receipts and deliveries.

Officials at Port Fourchon, where Ida made landfall, said water services finally were restored after some delays, although power remains down. Port tenants are continuing to assess their damage. The US Coast Guard set Port Fourchon as "port open with restrictions."

Port Fourchon also is the home of LOOP's onshore facilities, which include a booster station and Clovelly Dome Storage Terminal. LOOP, the only deepwater port in the US capable of loading VLCCs with crude, had suspended deliveries ahead of Ida. LOOP has said its "supply chain is functioning" as the offshore oil port continues to work with shippers to receive and deliver crude oil to regional refineries.

Much of the return of the onshore infrastructure depends on the restoration of electricity. Primary Louisiana utility Entergy said Sept. 17 that power is restored to 96% of the customers that lost electricity.

However, more than 30% of the hardest-hit Lafourche, St. Charles and Terrebonne parishes remained without power, including refining or port hubs in Port Fourchon and Houma, Entergy said. Nearly all of those areas are expected to receive power "no later than" Sept. 29.

Out of about 2.2 million b/d of oil refining capacity taken offline in Louisiana ahead of Ida, less than 500,000 b/d will remain offline longer term after Valero Energy finishes restarting its Meraux and St. Charles facilities.

The Phillips 66 Alliance Refinery and Shell's Norco Refinery were expected to take longer to restore because of the more extensive damages and flooding that occurred. No Texas refineries are known to have shuttered from Nicholas.