Shell shuts in Gulf production as Debby reaches GOM
BY BEN LEFEVBRE
HOUSTON -- Royal Dutch Shell said Sunday it shut down production at two of its U.S. Gulf of Mexico production platforms Sunday and was evacuating employees as Tropical Storm Debby bore down.
Debby, the fourth named storm this year, was moving at two miles an hour as of 11 a.m. EDT Sunday, a spokesman at the National Hurricane Center said. As it loitered, the storm piled heavy rains and winds of up to 60 miles an hour on to oil and gas platforms in the Gulf, forcing evacuations.
Shell is the third-largest oil and gas producer in the Gulf, having produced 240,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day in 2010. The company said it shut in production at its Auger and Enchilada/Salsa facilities and was considering other production shut-ins should weather conditions continue to deteriorate.
BP PLC, Anadarko Petroleum Corp. and BHP Billiton Ltd. already have suspended production at some of their Gulf of Mexico operations. ConocoPhillips, Chevron Corp. and others have started evacuating nonessential personnel from production platforms.
Gulf of Mexico federal offshore production accounts for 29% of oil and 12% of gas production in the U.S., down from about 30% for oil and 17% for gas in 2005, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
As of March, federal offshore production from the Gulf was 1.4 million barrels of oil a day and 4.4 billion cubic feet of gas a day, down from its peak of 1.7 million barrels of oil a day and 6.3 billion cubic feet of gas a day in 2010.