Oil companies resume most US Gulf output after Debby

Wed Jun 27, 2012 3:35pm EDT

* US says 3.21 pct oil, 3.64 pct natgas output still shut

* Most affected energy facilities fully restarted

* Debby first 2012 storm to disrupt Gulf energy operations

By Kristen Hays

HOUSTON, June 27 (Reuters) - Oil and gas producers in the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday had restarted nearly all output shut because of Tropical Storm Debby as the weakened storm's remnants moved out into the Atlantic Ocean after soaking parts of Florida.

U.S. regulators said a fraction of oil and gas output -- less than 4 percent of each -- was still shut on Wednesday.

The U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said 3.21 percent of daily oil output, or 44,229 barrels per day, and 3.64 percent of daily natural gas production, or 164 million cubic feet per day, was still shut.

Those figures peaked on Monday because of Debby, with 44.1 percent of daily oil and 34.8 percent of natural gas output shut.

Debby was the first named storm of 2012 to disrupt energy operations in the Gulf, which accounts for about 20 percent of U.S. oil production and 6 percent of U.S natural gas output.

Anadarko Petroleum Corp, the largest gas producer in the Gulf, said on Wednesday it had restarted the gas-only Independence Hub platform.

The Hub is the easternmost energy installation in the Gulf, which put it closer to Debby than others as the storm veered toward Florida. It can produce up to 1 billion cubic feet of gas per day.

Anadarko shut and evacuated four platforms for the storm, but two were restarted by Tuesday. The fourth, Neptune, which can produce up to 14,000 bpd of oil and 23 mmcfd of gas, was undergoing minor maintenance on Wednesday and would soon restart, the company said.

BP Plc, the largest oil producer in the Gulf, would not specify whether its seven oil and gas platforms had restarted, but the regulator's figures indicated that they had.

"Oil and gas production will be ramped up in the coming days as facilities are restaffed and safe startup procedures are completed," spokesman Brett Clanton said.

BP's affected facilities included Thunder Horse, the world's largest oil and gas platform, which is designed to produce up to 250,000 bpd of oil and 200 mmcfd of gas.

Debby deluged parts of central and northern Florida with more than 2 feet (61 cm) of rain as it hovered in the Gulf of Mexico and cut across the peninsula. It was downgraded to a tropical depression when its winds died down on Tuesday night.