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NEW YORK TIMES: Shell Cuts U.S. Gulf Output Ahead of Emily

NEW YORK TIMES: Shell Cuts U.S. Gulf Output Ahead of Emily

“Shell said daily production of about 20 million cubic feet (MMCF) and 1,000 barrels of oil was shut and its North Padre, Brazos and West Cameron operations in the far western Gulf were completely evacuated, according to a statement.”

Posted Monday 18 July 2005

By REUTERS

HOUSTON (Reuters) – While meteorologists over the weekend adjusted Hurricane Emily’s forecast track away from the heart of U.S. Gulf of Mexico oil and natural gas production areas, Shell Oil Co. said on Sunday it had shut in some natural gas and oil production.

Shell said daily production of about 20 million cubic feet (MMCF) and 1,000 barrels of oil was shut and its North Padre, Brazos and West Cameron operations in the far western Gulf were completely evacuated, according to a statement.

The U.S. unit of the Royal Dutch/Shell Group of Companies said it was evacuating workers from the central Gulf on Sunday. As of Saturday, Shell had pulled 456 non-essential workers from the Gulf.

BP Plc (BP.L), Kerr McGee Corp. (KMG.N) and ConocoPhillips (COP.N) also airlifted some nonessential workers out of the Gulf over the weekend.

Total Gulf crude oil production averaged 1.7 million bpd, while natural gas output was about 12.3 billion cubic feet per day in 2003.

The Gulf accounts for about 25 percent of U.S. oil and natural gas supply.

Late on Sunday, Emily had 145 mph sustained winds, earning it a Category 4 on the Saffir-Simpson scale of one to five.

Mexican state oil monopoly Pemex evacuated 15,000 offshore workers and shut about 480,000 barrels of crude per day as the storm approached its southwestern Gulf of Mexico breadbasket.

Because Emily has spun through important shipping zones, traders said they expect South American crude deliveries to the United States to be disrupted temporarily.

As of 5 p.m. EDT (2100 GMT) on Sunday, Emily was in the western Caribbean Sea, driving at 20 mph toward Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. The eye was expected to strike late Sunday or early Monday, then emerge in the Gulf later Monday.

The storm’s southerly position was good news for BP, which used the relative calm 150 miles off the shore of Louisiana to continue righting the Thunder Horse platform.

Crews found the $1 billion structure listing 20 degrees when they returned after Hurricane Dennis knifed through the Gulf a week ago. Workers had reduced the platform’s list to about five degrees as of Sunday afternoon, BP said.

One of the busiest tropical storm seasons in history already has haunted the U.S. offshore just one summer after Hurricane Ivan caused record output losses.

Tropical storms Arlene and Cindy, as well as Hurricane Dennis all have threatened production so far. None, however, caused much lingering damage.

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