(Adds Louisiana ports reopen, updated storm position)
By Erwin Seba
HOUSTON, Sept 15 (Reuters) - More than a quarter of U.S.
offshore oil and gas production was shut and export ports were
closed on Tuesday as Hurricane Sally stalled just off the U.S.
Gulf Coast, pelting the region with heavy rains.
Sally weakened on Tuesday to a Category One hurricane with
sustained winds of 80 miles per hour (128 kph), moving at a pace
that threatened historic and life-threatening flooding from
Mississippi to Florida, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said
in a late day update https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/text/refresh/MIATCDAT4+shtml/152038.shtml?.
The storm plowed through prime U.S. offshore production
areas and was meandering on a path toward Alabama and the
Florida Panhandle, sparing New Orleans and some larger Gulf
Coast refineries from its winds and rain.
Royal Dutch Shell said it shut its Appomattox oil
platform about 80 miles off the coast of Louisiana, joining BP
, Chevron Corp and Equinor in closing
facilities less than one month after Hurricane Laura knocked
about 1.5 million barrels per day of oil offline temporarily.
Nearly 500,000 bpd of offshore crude oil production and 28%,
or 759 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd), of natural gas output
were shut in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday, according to
the U.S. Interior Department.
U.S. crude oil futures rose nearly 3% and gasoline
futures climbed 2.3% on Tuesday on the hurricane-related
oil production and refinery shut-ins despite demand losses from
the COVID-19 pandemic.
The nation's sole offshore terminal, the Louisiana Offshore
Oil Port (LOOP), stopped loading tankers on Sunday, while ports
from Biloxi, Mississippi, to Pensacola, Florida, were closed.
Ports along the Mississippi River began to reopen late Tuesday
with restrictions. The closings will cut roughly 307,000 bpd of
crude and 411,000 bpd of refined products, according to Kpler
As of 4 p.m. CDT (2100 GMT) on Tuesday, Sally was about 85
miles (135 km) south of Mobile, Alabama, and crawling toward the
northwest at 2 mph (3 kph). The crawling advance threatened to
inundate the region.
Refiners in the region have wound down operations. Phillips
66 shut its Alliance oil refinery, which processes
255,600 bpd at a site along the Mississippi River on the coast
Shell cut production to minimum rates on Monday at its
227,400-bpd Norco, Louisiana, refinery, but planned to keep a
Mobile, Alabama, chemical and refinery plant operating with a
Murphy Oil Corp said it was beginning to restore
production at its eastern-most Gulf of Mexico oil platforms, and
oil-giant Equinor said it expected to return workers to its
Titan platform on Thursday.
(Reporting by Erwin Seba, Gary McWilliams in Houston and Devika
Krishna Kumar in New York; Editing by Marguerita Choy, Jason
Neely and Tom Brown)