Texas Wildfires Skirt Gas Fields, Strip Demand

Friday, September 09, 2011

NEW YORK, Sept 9 (Reuters) - Wildfires in East Texas have so far spared oil and gas operations in the region, but active fires and danger of new fires in the region are a threat to operations in the region as well as in Louisiana and Oklahoma, Colorado-based analysts Bentek Energy said on Friday.

A sample of production receipts from East Texas and Haynesville had not yet shown a distinct decline in production that could be attributable to the fires, but some of the fires have erupted around the perimeter of Haynesville shale counties, raising concerns about safety and disruptions, the report noted.

The fires had, however, shown an impact on demand.

"Over the last three days, evacuations and fire-related damage in Texas have led to nearly 1 bcf total demand loss," the report said. Bentek expects demand recovery to be gradual.

"Texas has experienced the largest fire event of the three states, with a total of 26 large fires burning and nearly 114,000 acres burned as of Sept. 8. Forecasts for fire danger remain high in the majority of the East Texas region," the report said.

Bentek noted Louisiana's state department of natural resources last week issued an advisory to oil and gas operators in the state to monitor conditions closely and take necessary steps, including shutting in wells, production facilities and pipelines as needed.

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