More than half of the Gulf of Mexico's oil output remained shut Tuesday as offshore oil and gas producers restaffed platforms after high winds and rough seas in the wake of Tropical Storm Lee had calmed.
"With improvement in weather conditions, BP began remanning its eight operated platforms at first light Tuesday morning," BP spokesman Daren Beaudo said.
Those crews will assess damage and turn on needed electrical and support systems before restarting production, he said.
A total of 846,670 barrels per day of oil output, or 60.5 percent, remained shut in, down 0.9 percentage point from Monday, the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management said.
BOEM also said 2.2 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas, or 41.6 percent, remained shut in, down 4.4 percentage points from Monday.
The Gulf accounts for 27 percent of U.S. oil output and 8 percent of U.S. natural gas production, according to the U.S Energy Information Administration.
Lingering bad weather over the U.S. Labor Day holiday weekend blocked producers from quickly resuming Gulf operations, and on Tuesday Lee had degenerated into rainstorms along the U.S. East Coast.
Royal Dutch Shell began restaffing its central and eastern Gulf platforms to assess their status and begin restarting output.
"Complete Gulf of Mexico production ramp-up to pre-storm levels may take three to five days," Shell said on its website.
Spokesmen for Chevron Corp and Apache Corp also said restaffing and restarting efforts were under way, and Anadarko Petroleum Corp had restaffed its eight operated platforms.
Other Gulf oil and gas infrastructure shut for the storm, which came ashore and weakened early Sunday, was restarting. Enterprise Products Partners expected to restart the Cameron Highway Oil Pipeline (CHOPS) and the Poseidon Pipeline, both of which feed crude to Gulf Coast refineries.
Most refiners reported no impact from the storm over the weekend. Valero Energy Corp spokesman Bill Day said the company's 225,000-barrels-per-day (bpd) refinery in Texas City, Texas, and its 292,000-bpd plant in Port Arthur, Texas, had no impact from the CHOPS outage.
The Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP) was expected to resume normal operations by Tuesday afternoon as weather improved, spokesman Dale Rollins said.
He said conditions Tuesday were calm enough for divers to check LOOP equipment before resuming tanker offloadings, which were suspended Friday. Deliveries to landside customers continued from storage through the weekend.
Meanwhile, a low-pressure weather system near the southern Gulf had a 20 percent chance of becoming a tropical cyclone in the next two days, the National Hurricane Center said.
The next named storm in the Atlantic hurricane season will be Maria, the NHC said.
Hurricane Katia also weakened as it moved northwest and prompted a tropical storm watch in Bermuda, the NHC said. Katia was not expected to reach the U.S. East Coast.
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