August 16, 2009 / 6:28 PM / 10 years ago

Gulf of Mexico oil ops normal, companies eye storms

HOUSTON (Reuters) - U.S. Gulf of Mexico offshore oil patch output was unaffected by Tropical Storm Claudette, which was quickly passing far to the east of main production areas, oil companies said on Sunday.

Tropical Storm Claudette moving northwestward through Alabama in a satellite image taken August 17, 2009. REUTERS/NOAA/Handout

“Gulf operations are normal,” BP Plc spokesman Daron Beaudo said in a statement. “Nothing to report.”

BP is the Gulf’s largest oil producer by volume, according to the U.S. Minerals Management Service.

U.S.-regulated areas of the Gulf of Mexico provide a quarter of U.S. oil production and 15 percent of the nation’s natural gas output, according to the MMS, which regulates offshore production.

Chevron Corp and Anadarko Petroleum Corp, which both have platforms in the eastern Gulf, said they were continuing production as they monitored Tropical Storm Claudette, which was 40 miles south of Apalachicola, Florida, on Sunday afternoon.

Chevron is the Gulf’s third-largest oil producer and second-largest natural gas producer, according to the MMS.

Exxon Mobil Corp, which has extensive operations at Mobile Bay, Alabama, on the northeastern corner of Gulf offshore production, was carefully watching Claudette, said a spokeswoman.

ConocoPhillips did not expect Claudette would affect its operations, as long the storm held to its forecast path for landfall along the Florida panhandle late on Sunday.

Also posing potential threats are Tropical Storm Ana, which is expected to reach the Caribbean islands as early as Monday, and Tropical Storm Bill, which may bear down on the Gulf later this week.

Last year’s Hurricanes Gustav and Ike, which struck in September, shut down almost all Gulf oil production and 93 percent of natural gas output as well a quarter of the nation’s refining capacity.

Reporting by Erwin Seba; Editing by Richard Chang

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