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Over 11% Of Gulf Of Mexico Daily Oil Output Shut-In As Storm Looms

Offshore oil and gas operators in the Gulf of Mexico have shut in 168,334 barrels of oil per day (bopd), equal to 11.48 percent of the current daily production in the Gulf, as they are evacuating platforms in the path of a tropical depression, the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said Monday.

Based on reports from four companies as of 11:30 a.m. CDT on Monday, operators have also shut in 190 million cubic feet per day of natural gas, or 5.51 percent of the natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico, the bureau noted.

At 10:00 a.m. CDT on Tuesday, the National Hurricane Center said that Tropical Depression No. 9 is expected to become a tropical storm on Tuesday, and some strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours.

The center of the depression will continue to move slowly away from western Cuba, and move over the eastern Gulf of Mexico during the next 48 hours, the National Hurricane Center said.

Oil giant BP (NYSE:BP) said as early as on Friday that it had started securing offshore facilities and evacuating non-essential personnel from platforms and drilling rigs.

On Monday, the group updated the information saying that it had evacuated all non-essential personnel from its four operated platforms and had begun shutting-in production at the Thunder Horse, Na Kika and Atlantis platforms. Mad Dog, the company’s other offshore production platform in the Deepwater Gulf, is farther to the west and continues to operate, BP noted.

Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE:RDS.A) is also issuing updates on tropical depression no.9 and said on Monday it had safely shut in production at the Coulomb field following the shut-in of associated downstream oil and gas gathering systems and receipt points. Production is currently unaffected at all other Shell-operated assets, the Anglo-Dutch group added.

Last week, the latest federal Gulf of Mexico lease sale saw a record low turnout with record-low total value of bids.

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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