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Energy firms boost U.S. Gulf oil, natgas output after storm

Date: 03-Sep-12
Country: USA
Author: Erwin Seba and Selam Gebrekidan

Energy companies were restoring offshore oil and natural gas production and restarting refineries on Sunday as the recovery from Hurricane Isaac shifted into high gear.

Shut offshore oil output in the Gulf of Mexico was down 22 percent from Saturday's 93.53 percent and natural gas output was down nearly 10 percent from 65.26 percent shut a day earlier, the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said on Sunday.

Phillips 66 said on Sunday that most of the floodwater had been cleared from its 247,000 barrel per day (bpd) Alliance, Louisiana, refinery. Isaac came ashore as a hurricane south of the refinery on Tuesday. Electrical power remains off at the refinery and will have to be restored before the plant can restart.

Total offline oil refinery capacity fell to 439,500 barrels per day (bpd) as Motiva Enterprises 233,500 bpd Norco, Louisiana, refinery was restarting, according to the U.S. Energy Department.

A Motiva representative did not reply to requests for comment.

As of midday Sunday, 986,698 barrels per day of oil production was still shut in the Gulf, down from 1.291 million bpd on Saturday, and 2.502 billion cubic feet (bcf) per day in natural gas output was closed, down from 2.937 bcf per day on Saturday.

Oil and natural gas producers had little to say on Sunday, referring reporters to company websites, most of which had not been updated since Saturday, when the companies announced they were restaffing platforms.

The Gulf's largest oil producer, BP Plc declined to discuss offshore operations.

The Louisiana Offshore Oil Port, which receives 13 percent of the nation's foreign crude, said commercial electrical power was restored on Saturday by utility Entergy Corp at its onshore oil storage facility in Clovelly, Louisiana. The storage facility had been operating on diesel generators.

(Reporting by Erwin Seba and Selam Gebrekidan; editing by Gary Crosse)

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