Oil Output on US Gulf Coast Curtailed as Hurricane Nears

Oil Output on US Gulf Coast Curtailed as Hurricane NearsOil Output on US Gulf Coast Curtailed as Hurricane Nears

Hurricane Nate had curtailed 92% of US Gulf of Mexico oil output and up to 3% of refining capacity on Saturday, as it sped toward energy facilities in the central US Gulf Coast that largely were spared by Hurricane Harvey’s wrath nearly six weeks ago.

The fast-moving storm has forced evacuations at more than 300 US Gulf of Mexico offshore platforms, far more than the number affected by Harvey, which packed more of a punch when it hit the Texas coast, Reuters reported.

Nate could still become a Category 2 storm, the second-weakest on a five-category scale used by meteorologists, with winds of up to 177 kilometers per hour before landfall later.

The storm was about 80 km south of the mouth of the Mississippi River on Saturday afternoon, according to NHC, but subsided to 70 km per hour on Sunday.

Its track has taken it closer to offshore production than Harvey, whose impact was greatest on refining centers. On Saturday, some 1.6 million barrels per day of oil and more than 70 million cubic meters per day of natural gas output were halted by the storm, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement reported.

Colby Goatley, a meteorologist at Weather Decision Technologies Inc, said his firm is helping about 10 drilling rig operators chart a course away from Nate, which is producing waves of up to 9.1 meters near its center.

“Rigs on the eastern side of Nate are racing westward to get on that more favorable side,” he said.

Nate is converging on refineries that remained in operation during Harvey, with Phillips 66’s Alliance plant, Valero Energy Corp’s Meraux facility, and PBF Energy’s Chalmette plant—all in Louisiana—and Chevron Corp’s plant in Pascagoula, Mississippi, all within the impact zone.

Chevron halted production at the Pascagoula plant on Saturday, according to energy intelligence company Genscape. A Chevron spokesman declined to comment.

Phillips 66 confirmed that it shut its Alliance refinery on Saturday.

Combined, the two process 587,000 barrels per day, or 3%, of the nation’s refining capacity. Hurricane Harvey, which brought intense rains that flooded the Texas Gulf Coast, shut nearly a quarter of US oil refining capacity.

Chevron earlier had made preliminary preparations for the storm, including securing loose equipment and positioning standby generators, according to sources.


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