Oil and gas producers operating in the US Gulf of Mexico are hurriedly getting employees off platforms as Hurricane Ida bears down on the central Gulf. Nearly 60% of the Gulf's oil production has been shut in as a result.
According to the National Hurricane Center, Ida is a category 1 hurricane with sustained winds of 75 miles per hour shortly before 2 p.m. eastern time Friday.
The storm is now expected to make landfall somewhere on the Louisiana coast late Sunday or Monday. Forecasts show Ida could become a powerful category 3 hurricane, with winds greater than 178 kilometres (111 miles) per hour.
An update from the US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said 89 production platforms, or approximately 15.9% of the manned platforms in the Gulf, have been evacuated.
“A total of 11 dynamically positioned rigs have moved off location out of the storm’s path as a precaution,” BSEE said. “This number represents 73.3% of the 15 DP rigs currently operating in the Gulf.”
BSEE said that, according to operator reports, approximately 58.5% of current oil production in the Gulf has been shut in. Approximately 48.8% of natural gas production has also been shut in.
Numerous major players in the Gulf have evacuated personnel from platforms. BP, Chevron, and Shell have all announced that they have evacuated employees.
Shell has shut in production at seven locations, including its Stones field. BP also has shut-in production at its four platforms.
Chevron has multiple fields in the expected path to the storm, including Big Foot, Blind Faith, Jack/St. Malo, and Tahiti. The company said Friday that it is shutting in production of its Gulf of Mexico assets in preparation for Ida.
Refining capacity on the Gulf Coast also could be significantly impacted by Ida.
A mandatory evacuation in portions of Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, includes Phillips 66’s Alliance Refinery, and multiple facilities in Lake Charles, Louisiana, are still recovering after being hit by a pair of hurricanes in 2020. The region accounts for slightly less than half of the nation’s refining capacity.
The report of the shut ins helped push West Texas Intermediate crude oil prices higher in mid-afternoon trading US time. WTI was up 93 cents to $68.70, an increase of 1.39%.