Bloomberg News

Exxon, Shell Return Workers to Gulf Platforms as Lee Moves Away

September 04, 2011

(Run BMAP 95086 <GO> for Gulf of Mexico energy platforms.)

Sept. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Exxon Mobil Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell Plc returned workers to some oil and natural gas platforms as Tropical Storm Lee accelerated to the east-northeast, out of the Gulf of Mexico.

Crews are resuming production in the western Gulf after inspecting equipment for damage, David Eglinton, a spokesman for Exxon Mobil, based in Irving, Texas-based said today in an e- mail. Exxon moved about 140 employees to shore from approximately 20 structures ahead of Lee. Shell, based in The Hague, confirmed it began returning staff after evacuating as many as 858 workers.

About 60 percent of oil production from the Gulf, equivalent to 843,223 barrels per day, remained shut as of 11:30 a.m. New York time, according to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement. Gas curtailments totaled 2.35 billion cubic feet, or 44 percent, down from 2.9 billion cubic feet, or 55 percent, yesterday. The bureau said 239 of the 617 platforms in the Gulf were evacuated and 25 of the 70 rigs currently drilling in the ocean.

The interruptions will be brief, said James Williams, an economist at WTRG Economics in London, Arkansas. “We’re not talking about Hurricane Gustav here, moving pipelines up and down Louisiana like it was spaghetti,” Williams said in a telephone interview. “This one isn’t a big story. It’s a wet story.” Gustav struck in 2008.

Production Resumes

Production resumed at Anadarko Petroleum Corp.’s Nansen, Boomvang and Gunnison platforms, the operator said today on its website. Its Constitution, Marco Polo, Independence Hub, Neptune and Red Hawk installations will be staffed and started as soon as possible, The Woodlands, Texas-based Anadarko said.

Platforms become accessible as weather clears west to east, Mike Hurst, chief pilot of PHI Inc. in Lafayette, Louisiana. It’s the largest provider of helicopters to Gulf of Mexico oil producers.

Normal flights may resume tomorrow over western and central platforms with service to eastern platforms Tuesday, he said.

Chevron Corp.’s refinery in Pascagoula, Mississippi, is operating normally, Katherine W. Swetman, a spokeswman, said today in an e-mail. The unit can process as much as 360,000 barrels per day. More than 10 inches of rain fell in the area the past four days, the National Weather Service said.

All Exxon Mobil refineries were operating normally today, spokeswoman Claire Hassett said in an e-mail.

--Editors: Theo Mullen, Paul Cox

To contact the reporter on this story: Jim Polson in New York at jpolson@bloomberg.net; Dan Hart in Washington at dahart@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Sylvia Wier at swier@bloomberg.net


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