UPDATE 3-Bonnie fades but disrupts U.S. Gulf oil output

* National Hurricane Center issues final storm advisory

* Over half of US Gulf oil output shut in by storm threat
(Updates with final NHC advisory on Bonnie)

MIAMI, July 24 (BestGrowthStock) – The remnants of Tropical Storm
Bonnie dissipated over the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday, and the
U.S. National Hurricane Center said it was no longer a tropical
depression.

Issuing what it said would be its final advisory on the
storm, which had earlier posed a significant threat to the Gulf
oil patch, the Miami-based hurricane center said Bonnie had
degenerated into a disorganized area of low pressure.

The storm prompted oil and natural gas producers to
evacuate many offshore workers, shutting in more than half of
crude oil production in U.S.-regulated areas of the Gulf and
about 25 percent of gas output.

It also had hampered efforts by BP Plc (BP.L: ) (BP.N: ) to
permanently plug its leaking Macondo oil well in the Gulf.

The hurricane center said the system was still packing
sustained winds of nearly 30 miles (48 km) per hour as it
moved over the Gulf near the mouth of the Mississippi River.
But it was expected to fall apart completely by Saturday night
or early Sunday morning.

The center had earlier lifted all coastal tropical storm
warnings associated with Bonnie.

A relief well rig and other vessels dealing with the BP
spill were preparing to return to the site of the blown-out
well on Saturday, the company said. They had moved out earlier
due to the storm threat.

The Gulf of Mexico is home to about 30 percent of U.S. oil
production, 11 percent of natural gas production and more than
43 percent of U.S. refinery capacity.

Bonnie was the second named storm of the Atlantic hurricane
season, which began on June 1 and runs through Nov. 30.

Forecasters say this year’s hurricane season is expected to
be especially active.

Bonnie fell below tropical storm strength on Friday, during
its passage from the Caribbean and across the southern tip of
Florida into the Gulf.

The hurricane center had warned earlier of a chance it
could strengthen as it fed off the warm waters of the Gulf,
however, prompting precautionary evacuations of work sites
across the offshore oil patch.

The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management said 51.65
percent of Gulf oil production and 23.53 percent of natural gas
output were shut as of Saturday due to Bonnie.

It said 106 production platforms, 16.72 percent of all
those in the Gulf, had been evacuated.

Based on reports submitted by oil and natural gas
producers, the bureau said, 826,365 barrels per day of oil
production was shut as of Saturday along with 1.506 billion
cubic feet (42.6 million cubic metres) per day of natural gas
output.

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(Reporting by Tom Brown and Erwin Seba; editing by Mohammad
Zargham)

UPDATE 3-Bonnie fades but disrupts U.S. Gulf oil output