HOUSTON, Sept 15 (Reuters) - More than one-fifth of U.S.
offshore oil production was shut and key exporting ports were
closed on Tuesday ahead of Hurricane Sally's landfall on the
U.S. Gulf Coast, the second significant hurricane to shutter oil
and gas activity over the last month.
Sally was upgraded to a Category 2 hurricane on Monday
and could strengthen further before making landfall late on
Tuesday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said. The storm's
trajectory has shifted east toward southwestern Mississippi,
however, sparing some of Louisiana's refining operations.
The U.S. government said 21%, or nearly 396,000 barrels per
day (bpd), of offshore crude oil production and 25%, or 685
million cubic feet per day (mmcfd), of natural gas output were
shut in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.
The nation's sole offshore terminal, the Louisiana Offshore
Oil Port (LOOP), stopped loading tanker ships on Sunday, while
the port of New Orleans closed on Monday. That will cut off
roughly 307,000 bpd of crude and 411,000 bpd of refined
products, according to Kpler data.
As of 11 p.m. CDT on Monday, Sally was about 90 miles (145
km) east of the mouth of the Mississippi River, and winds were
picking up, with sustained winds of up to 100 mph (155 kph).
Offshore facilities operated by Chevron Corp and BP
Plc have been shut, less than one month after Hurricane
Laura forced roughly 1.5 million barrels per day of output to
Refiners in the region have wound down operations. The
Phillips 66 Alliance oil refinery, which processes
255,600 bpd at a site along the Mississippi River on the coast
of Louisiana, shut on Monday, said operator Phillips 66.
Shell cut production to minimum rates on Monday at
its 227,400-bpd Norco, Louisiana, refinery.
(Reporting by Erwin Seba, Gary McWilliams in Houston and Devika
Krishna Kumar in New York; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)