Hurricane Ida – upgraded from Tropical Storm Ida since Friday – became a Category 4 storm on Sunday morning, with sustained winds of 150 mph, according to the US National Hurricane Center. Expected to hit the Louisiana coast on Sunday afternoon, the Center said the storm is “extremely dangerous.” Jefferson Parish President Cynthia Lee Sheng called the storm “unsurvivable” for residents in low-lying areas.
According to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), as of 11:30 am CDT on Saturday, personnel had been evacuated from 279 production platforms in the Gulf of Mexico, almost 50% of the 560 manned platforms in those waters. Crews had also been evacuated from all 11 non-dynamically positioned rigs operating in the Gulf. Of the 15 dynamically positioned rigs in the Gulf, 11 had been moved out of the storm’s projected path. Crews have remained on board and will return the rigs to their drilling locations once the storm has passed.
From operator reports, the BSEE estimated that 91% of current oil production and 85% of gas production in the Gulf has been shut in.
After the storm, all facilities will be inspected. Production from undamaged facilities will be brought back online immediately, but facilities that sustain damage will take longer to resume production.
According to Reuters, ExxonMobil cut production at its Baton Rouge, Louisiana, refinery to 50% of its 520,000-bpd capacity ahead of the storm, and shut in one of the two 110,000-bpd gasoline-producing fluidic catalytic crackers at the refinery.