Tropical Storm Isaac swirled into the Gulf of Mexico on Monday with winds of more than 60 miles an hour.
Issac could be the biggest test to the United States since 2008 when Gustav and Ike disrupted offshore oil output for months as well as damaged onshore natural gas processing plants and pipelines.
From operator reports, it is estimated that approximately 24.19 percent of the current daily oil production in the Gulf of Mexico has been shut-in. It is also estimated that approximately 8.24 percent of the current daily natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico has been shut-in, the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said.
Shortly after the report, oil gained the most in a week – 1 percent to $97.12 a barrel at 7:40 a.m. London time (gasoline up 4.1 percent to $3.205 a gallon) the highest since April. Crude’s 14-day relative strength index is also approaching 70, a reading that signals futures have risen too quickly for further gains to be sustainable.
Production down as Isaac near
According to the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, personnel have been evacuated from a total of 39 production platforms – 6.54 percent of the 596 manned platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.
Leading U.S. Gulf of Mexico oil producer BP Plc has already evacuated all of its workers in the Gulf.
“The move comes amid a western shift in several of the leading storm tracking models and a growing consensus that the tropical storm will strengthen into a category one or two hurricane before making landfall in the coming days,” the company said in an update on its hotline.
British Petroleum, at this moment is the largest oil producer in the Gulf of Mexico – the company produces about 250,000 net barrels of oil there per day.
Chevron Corp, the second largest oil producer in the Gulf behind BP Plc – said that its 330,000 barrel-a-day refinery in Pascagoula, Miss. was in the process of shutting down. Chevron declined comment on storm impacts.
Royal Dutch Shell said on Sunday that the company planned to fully evacuate and shut production at its east-central Gulf of Mexico oil and gas platforms.
Shell did not specify which platforms would be affected, but could include Mars, with capacity to produce up to 160,000 bpd of oil and 121 mmcf of gas per day.
Other refineries that could be affected by the tropical storm Isaac include:
-Valero Energy Corp’s 205,000 bpd Norco and 125,000 bpd Meraux refineries
-Motiva Enterprises’ 233,500 bpd Norco and 235,000 bpd Convent refineries
-Exxon Mobil Corp’s 502,500 bpd Baton Rouge plant, the U.S.’ third-largest.
ESTIMATED CAPACITY OFFLINE
Platforms Evacuated: 39
Rigs Evacuated: 8
Total shut-in: Oil, BOPD Shut-in: 333,815
Gas,MMCF/D Shut-in: 371