Mexico City/Boston: Most oil production in the US Gulf of Mexico remained shut and thousands were without power after Nate struck the southern US as a hurricane. The storm had weakened to a tropical depression by Sunday.
About 1.62 million barrels a day of oil production in the Gulf, or about 92% of the region’s output, was shut Saturday, based on US government estimates. About 77% of gas production was down, and pipeline flows for Sunday showed little change. More than 98,000 customers were without power across the South, less than projected, utility data compiled by Bloomberg show.
Nate spared the US Gulf the worst of its rain and wind by falling apart shortly after making landfall near Biloxi, Mississippi, as a category 1 hurricane Sunday. Losses may reach about $2.5 billion as the system struck a stretch of the coast dotted with casinos and resorts, but energy assets emerged unscathed. Some energy explorers including Chevron Corp. were already working to restore production Sunday.
Nate’s top winds have fallen to 35 miles (56km) an hour from 90mph at its peak. The storm was about 40 miles southwest of Birmingham, Alabama, at 11am New York time Sunday, the US National Hurricane Centre said in an advisory.
Chuck Watson, a disaster modeler with Enki Research in Savannah, Georgia, pegged total damages at about $2.5 billion, down from as high as $4 billion previously, after Nate’s intensity fell and the left side of the storm collapsed. The lack of power on the west side of the system saved New Orleans from flooding rains.
All told, 14 storms have formed across the Atlantic this season, killing hundreds in the US, Mexico and the Caribbean and causing an estimated $300 billion in damage. Accumulated cyclone energy, a measure of storm power and longevity, set a record in September after hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico at category 4 strength and hurricane Irma battered Florida with 130mph winds.
Hurricane Harvey, which hit the US Gulf Coast last month, temporarily shut about 25% of oil and natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico and as much as 20% of US refining capacity.
Less than a day after Nate’s landfall, Chevron was returning workers to its Gulf of Mexico assets and restoring production that was shut ahead of the storm. The company was assessing pipelines and terminals before bringing them back into service, and its Pascagoula refinery in Mississippi saw no supply impacts.
Magellan Midstream Partners LP resumed normal operations at the Marrero and Gibson oil terminals in Louisiana. Enbridge Inc., which had evacuated workers from platforms in the Gulf of Mexico before Nate’s arrival, was planning to return personnel to platforms on Sunday afternoon.
The Louisiana offshore oil port, the biggest US crude-import hub, was returning workers to all locations and said deliveries remained on schedule throughout the storm.
Nate isn’t through just yet. As many as 10 inches of rain may fall east of the Mississippi river, from the central Gulf coast into the deep south, eastern Tennessee Valley and southern Appalachians, the hurricane centre said. Seven inches may drop across the Ohio Valley into the central Appalachians. Bloomberg