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Operators return to Gulf of Mexico platforms, rigs after Isaac

[Story updated adding Sept. 4 BSEE stats, see paragraphs 2 and 3]

Operators were returning to Gulf of Mexico oil and gas platforms and rigs to restore operations following Hurricane Isaac, the US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement reported.

As of information received from industry by 11:30 a.m. CDT on Sept. 4, BSEE said 710,866 b/d, or 51.51%, of the gulf’s crude oil production and 1.3 bcfd, or 28%, of its gas production remained shut in.

Offshore operator reports showed personnel were evacuated from 21 production platforms, or 3.52% of the manned platforms in the gulf, and 2 rigs, or 2.63% of the rigs working there.

Previously, industry had shut in most gulf offshore crude production before Hurricane Isaac made landfall in Plaquemines Parish, La., Aug. 29 as a slow-moving Category 1 hurricane.

Louisiana received the brunt of Isaac's 70 mph winds and heavy rain as it veered west of New Orleans 7 years to the day after Hurricane Katrina and subsequent flooding devastated New Orleans (OGJ Online, Aug.29, 2012).

In early September, BSEE said that inspectors were flying offshore to the platforms and rigs. The agency said it received reports of mainly minor damage from some operators and would continue to issue daily updates.

About 100,000 b/d of production was restored from Sept. 2 to Sept. 3, according to the Louisiana Oil & Gas Association. Some 1.3 million b/d of production was off-line at the storm’s height.

LOGA cited a DOE report that nine refineries in Isaac’s path are restarting or operating at reduced rates and most employees have returned to work.

Phillips 66 Co.’s Alliance refinery at Belle Chasse, La., remained shut down because its power has not been restored, the association said.

US President Barack Obama, as he visited St. John the Baptist Parish on Sept. 3, commended work by federal and local governments and volunteers in recovering from the storm.

Citing Louisianans and Missippians’ resilience in responding to disasters, he said: “When disasters like this happen, we set aside whatever petty disagreements we may have. Nobody is a Democrat or a Republican—we’re all just Americans looking out for one another.”

Meanwhile, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney visited Louisiana Aug. 31 to survey the storm’s damage and local recovery efforts a day after the party’s convention ended in Tampa, Fla.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com


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