UPDATE: Monday November 9th, 2009 – Hurricane Ida reduced to tropical storm as it approaches U.S. coast
This year the hurricane season has been practically non-existent and a non-event for natural gas prices. But just when the end of the hurricane season is in sight (hurricane season officially ends November 30th) Hurricane Ida’s forecast power has caused Louisiana’s Governor Bobby Jindal to declare a state of emergency on Sunday.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Ida’s winds are approaching 170 km/h and is moving northwest at close to 19 km/h. Ida could pick up speed (and strengthen into a category 2 or higher) as it continues to move across the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. It is expected to reach the southern U.S. Gulf coast Tuesday morning.
An overactive 2005 hurricane season saw hurricanes Katrina and Rita shut in more than 711 Bcf of natural gas in the Gulf of Mexico which was approximately 19.5% of the Gulf’s production that year. Today, Chevron Corp and Anadarko Petroleum Corp workers were being evacuated from platforms in the Gulf of Mexico, and some oil production and natural gas shut ins were reported. No details were available at the time of this post but it will certainly be enough to fuel some of the speculation with traders and buoy oil and natural gas prices in Monday’s trading day.
According to Reuters on Sunday (9:16pm EST):
The Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP) said it was suspending offloading tankers in advance of the storm. [nN08202278]
BP Plc, one of the Gulf’s largest producers, said it had shut undisclosed amounts of production as a precaution and was evacuating some personnel. [nN08207106]
Marathon Oil Corp said it had shut in Ewing Bank platform, which produces 11,700 barrels of oil per day and 10.5 million cubic feet of gas. [nN08196994]
Chevron Corp, another big producer, said it had shut some production while evacuating personnel.
Exxon Mobil Corp said it was preparing to evacuate personnel, take other measures as necessary. [nN08202278]
Anadarko Petroleum Corp said it was evacuating personnel but had not shut production.
The U.S. Coast Guard said it was preparing for storm conditions and alerting mariners that the Port of Mobile, Alabama, could face gale force winds within 32 hours.