Phillips 66 will be temporarily closing down its 253,600-bpd Alliance, Louisiana, refinery ahead of possible flooding from a tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico which is expected to become a hurricane on Friday and which has already shut in 32 percent of the U.S. Gulf of Mexico???s oil production.
Phillips 66 said on Thursday that it planned to complete the closing of the refinery in the morning, following mandatory evacuation orders from local authorities, Reuters reports.
According to the National Weather Service forecast as of 11:08 a.m. EDT on Thursday, the tropical storm Barry may strengthen to a hurricane on Friday evening.
The closing down of the refinery comes after oil producers in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico started earlier this week evacuating employees from their platforms ahead of the storm. Chevron is evacuating all the staff from five platforms and shutting them down ahead of the storm, and also evacuating some non-essential personnel from a sixth platform. Shell is evacuating four platforms???Appomattox, Mars, Olympus and Ursa???and has reduced production from the Mars and Olympus platforms by more than 2,500 bpd. BP is evacuating staff from four platforms that collectively produce over 300,000 bpd of oil and gas. BHP, for its part, is reducing production at two platforms, with the evacuation of staff from Neptune and Shenzi expected to wrap up by this afternoon.
Based on operator reports, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) estimated that as of July 10, 31.89 percent of the current oil production in the Gulf of Mexico had been shut-in, which is equal to 602,715 bpd. BSEE also estimated that some 17.85 percent of the natural gas production, or 496.2 million cubic feet per day in the Gulf of Mexico, has been shut-in ahead of the storm.
Collectively, a total of 1 million bpd of oil production could be at risk due to the storm, according to analysts.