Update (1 pm ET): With Nate expected to strengthen into a category 2 storm by the time it makes landfall in southeastern Louisiana late Saturday, the NHC has expanded its storm warnings to include the part of the Florida panhandle east of the Okaloosa/Walton County Line to Indian Pass Florida, which is now under a tropical storm warning. Meanwhile, mandatory evacuations are set to begin in Port Fourchon, Louisiana at 12pm local time Saturday for remaining staff at the port, according to storm update by the Greater Lafourche Port Commission. This follows mandatory evacuation ordered by Lafourche Parish, La., President Jimmy Cantrelle for areas below floodgates in Golden Meadow, La. In addition, the US Coast Guard has suspended marine traffic activity as of 8 am local time for sector Mobile, which includes the ports of Gulfport and Pascagoula in Mississippi, Mobile, Ala., and Pensacola, Fla., in preparation for Hurricane Nate, according to an agency bulletin.
Staff at offshore oil rigs in the Gulf were ordered to evacuate, leaving nearly three-quarters of US Gulf of Mexico oil production was offline ahead of the storm. American Midstream Partners LP’s Destin gas pipeline and Enbridge Inc.’s Nautilus and Manta Ray lines are evacuating staff from Gulf platforms.
Thanks to Harvey, and now Nate, natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico has plunged to the lowest level in three years. Gulf gas output may drop as much as 1.4 billion cubic feet a day, while 1.1 million barrels a day of offshore oil production and 3 million barrels of refining capacity are at risk, according to Shunondo Basu, an analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
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