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Cindy shuts 17% of US Gulf crude output

Less than 6% of facilities shut in as tropical storm nears landfall on US Gulf Coast

Operators in the US Gulf have shut in about 17.24% of the region's crude production as Tropical Storm Cindy churned offshore with landfall expected on Thursday morning.

Impacts to gas production were more modest, with only 0.32% of output affected as of 11:30 am local time, according to a report from the US Bureau of Safety & Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) released Wednesday afternoon.

Oil and gas companies, however, maintained a manned presence on most offshore platforms. The BSEE reported that only 40 production facilities were evacuated, or 5.43% of the 737 manned units in the US Gulf.

Workers were also removed from one of the 15 non-dynamically positioned rig currently operating in the US Gulf. No dynamically positioned units have been moved due to the path of the storm.

Anadarko and BP said on Tuesday that non-essential personnel had been brought ashore, while others such as ExxonMobil and Chevron said their operations had not been affected.

Anadarko said on Wednesday that production from its operated Heidelberg, Marlin and Holstein facilities was temporarily halted in due to "third party pipeline shut-ins."

"As of this morning, Heidelberg is partially back on line, and we expect to resume and ramp up production at each these facilities as the weather system passes and pipelines allow," the company added.

The conditions have prompted a Tropical Storm warning from San Luis Pass Texas to the mouth of the Mississippi River, with expectations of heavy rain and coastal flooding.

However, the brunt of the impacts are expected to be felt in areas east of the storm's due to the counterclockwise rotation of the weather pattern.

Rainfall of six to nine inches - even up to 12 inches in some areas -- is expected in south-eastern Louisiana and the southern parts of Mississippi, Alabama and the western part of the Florida Panhandle, enough for "life-threatening flash flooding," according to the National Hurricane Centre.

Storm surge of one to three feet may also be encountered in those areas.

Further west, western Louisiana and south-east Texas, home to the oil capital of Houston, are also expected to get between three and five inches of rain, with up to seven inches in some areas.