US offshore oil recovery begins with ports, refineries restarting
The US Gulf Coast Energy Company was boosted on Saturday by the reopening of the port and the restart of the refinery closed by Hurricane Ida, but damage to key facilities continued to curb oil production.
Compared to any of the eight named storms that hit the US Gulf Coast last year, the ninth named storm in the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season cut even more US oil and gas production. After making landfall in Louisiana last Sunday, Ida rushed to the northeastern United States, causing deadly floods.
Royal Dutch Shell Plc, the largest producer on the US Gulf Coast, is still assessing the damage to its West Delta-143 offshore platform, which transfers approximately 200,000 barrels of oil and natural gas from three offshore oil fields during operation.
Shell said that Shell is continuing to work on replacing heliports required for maritime transport. Damage to its original facility prevented offshore workers from returning to the platform.
Several heliports in Louisiana were damaged or out of power, and fuel was not available, which slowed the return of crews of several major oil producers.
Shell's 230,611 barrels per day (bpd) oil processing plant in Norco, Louisiana is also still affected by the storm. The company stated that the refinery continued to suffer damage, and the assessment of its condition and the Geismar chemical plant in Louisiana continues.
The White House agreed this week to provide refiners with a total of 1.8 million barrels of oil from the National Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). Exxon Mobil and Placid Refining Company produce gasoline.
Nine refineries shut down due to Ida's wind and utility power losses. Robert Campbell, head of petroleum products research at the consulting firm's energy sector, estimates that five including Exxon Mobil, Placid and Marathon Petroleum may be back online within two weeks.
Government data on Friday showed that about half of the initially evacuated offshore platforms remained unused, and 93 per cent of oil production and 89 per cent of oil production were offline.
Analysts said that some oil wells in the Gulf of Mexico may be closed for several weeks, and that oil wells in the Gulf of Mexico account for about one-fifth of US production. The Coast Guard said that the lower Mississippi River and the Port of New Orleans have reopened traffic and freight operations. Reopening will allow the restoration of food, metal and energy transportation.