Oil companies began returning workers to offshore rigs and platforms in the Gulf of Mexico as Hurricane Claudette crossed the Texas coast on Tuesday. An estimated 225,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil and 2 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas production, or 15 percent of total Gulf output, were shut as of Tuesday morning, based on information provided by producers.
Claudette, which was upgraded to hurricane status early Tuesday morning, was striking the central Texas coast with maximum sustained winds of 80 miles (120 km) per hour, the National Hurricane Centre said.
Exxon Mobil Corp. and ChevronTexaco Corp. said Tuesday morning they shut more Gulf oil and natural gas production.
Exxon Mobil has shut in 250 million cubic feet per (mmcfd) of natural gas and 43,000 bpd of oil production in the Gulf by Tuesday morning.
The company had said on Monday that about 150 mmcfd of gas production and 40,000 bpd of oil production was turned off.
Chevron said Tuesday that 120,000 bpd of oil and 425 mmcfd of natural gas production have been shut in.
On Monday, Chevron said it had shut 105,000 bpd of oil and 350 mmcfd of natural gas production.
The U.S. Minerals Management Service reported on Monday a total of 210,000 bpd of oil production was shut due to Claudette, about 13 percent of the region's daily oil output of 1.6 million bpd.
Some 1 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas was shut on Monday - around 7.2 percent of the region's normal output, according to the MMS.
Ship traffic was halted in the Houston Ship Channel Monday night as it became too dangerous for ship pilots to board vessels. About 14 ships were waiting to transit the ship channel Tuesday morning, according to the channel pilots association.
Chevron and ConocoPhillips said they began returning workers to offshore rigs and platforms late Monday.
Chevron, which had evacuated up to 1,800 offshore workers over the weekend, had moved 800 workers back by Tuesday morning, spokeswoman Ayana McIntosh-Lee told Reuters.
Shell Oil Co., the U.S. unit of the Royal Dutch/Shell Group, said Tuesday it had a total of 50,000 bpd of oil and 150 mmcfd of natural gas production shut in.
Last month, Shell produced about 450,000 bpd of oil and 2.1 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas.
Marathon Oil Corp. has shut in 550 bpd of oil production and 750,000 cubic feet per day of natural gas production, said spokeswoman Susan Richardson on Monday.
Marathon's average production in the Gulf of Mexico is 62,500 bpd of oil and 103 mmcfd of natural gas.
Unocal Corp. (UCL.N) said on Monday it shut 23 rigs and platforms in the Gulf. A total of 950 bpd of oil and 27 mmcfd of natural gas are shut in. That is equal to 5,500 bpd of oil equivalent. Unocal's average Gulf output is 85,000 bpd of oil equivalent.
Anadarko Petroleum Corp. shut about 10 percent of its Gulf output by closing production at 15 operated properties in the western Gulf, the company said on Tuesday. The company's average daily production is 53,000 bpd of oil equivalent.
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