Even though Isidore has been downgraded to a tropical storm, operators in the Gulf of Mexico are shutting in production and evacuating crews from offshore platforms and rigs.
Shell said it was shutting in 675,000 barrels per day of crude output and 2.7 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas production.
Marathon reported that it will be shutting in approximately 46,000 barrels of crude oil production at seven platforms. Unocal, which has already evacuated non-essential and most of the essential personnel from its offshore platforms, will be shutting in approximately 20,000 boed. Murphy Oil has shut in all of its production of oil and natural gas. BP and ConocoPhillips will be shutting in production as well.
The Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP), the Gulf of Mexico's biggest receiver of imported crude oil, shut on Saturday and will remain shut likely to this weekend. "It is probably not likely that we will open the marine facility until after Isidore makes landfall," said Dale Rollins, spokesman for the LOOP. The LOOP takes in an average of 1.4 million bpd of crude, of which 900,000 bpd is from foreign sources and 500,000 bpd from U.S. Gulf of Mexico sources, Rollins said.
The storm, with winds up to 60 miles per hour, was moving off Mexico's Yucatan peninsula, heading mostly north toward Texas and Louisiana on a course that would take it over the Gulf's most active oil producing territory. Waves generated by the storm were as high as 15 feet in parts of the Gulf of Mexico, hindering shipping and drilling operations, according to the NOAA.