Storm Knocks Out U.S. Gulf of Mexico Natural Gas Pipeline

HOUSTON (Reuters) — An offshore natural gas pipeline that serves four major U.S. Gulf of Mexico production platforms remained out of commission on Monday, pipeline operator Enbridge Inc said, following Hurricane Laura's destructive path through the area. 

Enbridge declared force majeure on the Garden Banks and Nautilus natural gas lines after inspecting facilities over the weekend. Nautilus resumed operations on Sunday. The Garden Banks pipeline, a 1 billion cubic feet per day natural gas line, was shut due to a communications problem, the company said. 

Garden Banks Pipeline connects the Auger, Baldpate, Enchilada, and Magnolia offshore production platforms to onshore lines. Enbridge expects to have an operating update later on Monday, a spokesman said.

Energy companies continued to inspect and restart offshore operations while damage assessments onshore were hampered by power outages. In Lake Charles, Louisiana, near where the storm made landfall, Citgo Petroleum and Phillips 66 said reviews to onshore oil refineries could take days.

U.S. Gulf Coast offshore producers on Sunday reported 50%, or 1.35 billion cubic feet, of natural gas output was offline due to the storm. The region's wells account for 17% of total U.S. crude oil production and 5% of total U.S. natural gas production.

Separately, Motiva Enterprises, which operates the single largest U.S. oil refinery, a 607,000 barrel-per-day facility in Port Arthur, Texas, early plans early this week to bring production online at units halted ahead of the storm, people familiar with the matter said.

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