Updates BSEE figures, recasts headline.
Producers in the US Gulf of Mexico have shut in about 82pc of offshore oil output as two major storms threaten the region.
About 1.5mn b/d of oil production has been shut-in as of today, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) said. About 57pc of natural gas production, or about 1.5 Bcf/d, has been taken offline.
Personnel have been removed from 281 producing platforms, or nearly 44pc of the manned platforms in the region, BSEE said.
The forecast for tropical storm Laura has the storm strengthening and coming ashore as a hurricane near the border of Texas and Louisiana late on 26 August or early on 27 August, possibly disrupting refinery and pipeline operations.
Laura will be on the heels of tropical storm Marco, which is expected to make landfall on the Louisiana coast later today, according to the National Hurricane Center. Marco was downgraded to a tropical storm after reaching hurricane strength over the weekend.
Major offshore producers — including BP, Shell and Chevron — have been shutting in platforms and evacuating workers. Shell said today it has shut in production at all but one of its nine operated assets in the Gulf of Mexico and has completed the evacuation of all non-essential personnel.
Chevron has evacuated all personnel from its Gulf of Mexico platforms and shut-in the facilities.
The Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP) about 20 miles (32km) off the coast from Grand Isle, Louisiana, has suspended operations at its marine terminal. But Clovelly hub deliveries onshore remain normal.
The US Coast Guard has set restrictions for some Gulf coast ports. The port of New Orleans, Louisiana, and the port of Key West, Florida, were set to condition Zulu, which means the ports are closed and all vessel movements require approval from the port's captain.
Inbound traffic into the Houston Ship Channel will be suspended at 5pm ET today. The Coast Guard is expected to set Houston-sector ports to condition X-Ray later today, which means gale force winds will be expected in the area within 48 hours.
Ports near St Petersburg, Florida, and Texas and Louisiana ports near Port Arthur, Texas, were set to condition X-Ray, but the ports remain open to all traffic.
Some Caribbean ports in the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico were reopened yesterday, the US Coast Guard said.
Tropical storm activity has had a more muted effect on US oil and natural gas prices in the past decade because so much domestic output now comes from onshore shale fields. But storms that make landfall along the energy infrastructure-rich Gulf coast can still disrupt refinery operations and cause the prices of transportation fuels to spike.
The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season a higher-than-normal level of storms because of warm ocean waters and lower wind shear, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
By Eunice Bridges