UPDATE 3-Cyclone kills two, halts oil and gas in Oman

* Oil production halted due to rough seas-PDO spokesman

* All LNG trains in Oman to be shut down-Oman LNG spokesman

* Phet forecast to hit Pakistan coast as tropical storm

(adds rough weather affecting UAE’s Fujairah port, paragraph 9)

By Saleh al-Shaibany

MUSCAT, June 4 (BestGrowthStock) – Cyclone Phet, despite weakening
to a Category 1 storm, pummelled Oman’s coastline on Friday,
killing two and halting the small oil-producing country’s oil
and gas production, officials and state media said.

Phet’s first confirmed casualties were an Omani man who died
trying to cross a flooded area in Oman’s northern al Dhahira
region and a Bangladeshi woman who was electrocuted in Qurayyat
village near the capital Muscat, state television said.

“Some of the rescue operations are being hampered by poor
visibility and strong winds,” inspector general of police and
customs Malik bin Suleiman al-Maamary said on Omani television.
“There is bound to be damage but it is too early to assess it.”

Oman’s meteorological office said that wind speed was 120
kph near the Omani island of Masirah, and the cyclone was
expected to move away from Oman on Saturday, leaving the country
relatively unscathed compared to Phet’s predecessor.

“This is not as bad as (Cyclone) Gonu and people are better
prepared,” said Ali Rashid, a resident of the capital Muscat.

Cyclone Gonu, which battered the country in 2007, killed 54
people swept away by flood waters in Oman and Iran.

Despite Phet’s downgrade from a Category 3 to a Category 1
on Friday, the cyclone brought fierce, heavy rains with winds
peaking at 138 kph (86 mph).

“I saw two cars dive into the valley one after another as
the drivers tried to go around a bend,” Mustafa Suleiman, of the
eastern al-Ashkharah region, told Reuters.


In the United Arab Emirates’ eastern Fujairah port, Phet
brought bad weather and rough seas, the port’s central command
office said. Fujairah is one of the world’s biggest operations
for bunkering, the process of supplying a ship with fuel.

“The port is not officially closed, it is up to the master
of a vessel whether or not to bunker now,” an official from the
port’s central command said, adding that only a few ships had
come to the port to load.

The latest storm path forecast on tropicalstormrisk.com
shows Phet downgrading to a tropical storm before it hits the
Pakistani coastline near Karachi.

Pakistani authorities had already evacuated nearly 1,000
people and were on standby for more. In a worst-case scenario,
up to 50,000 people could be affected on Pakistan’s coast, said
Commander Salman Ali, a spokesman for Pakistan Navy in Karachi.

Oman halted its oil and gas production due as Phet hit the
small country’s coast, but no facilities have been damaged, DPO
and Oman LNG spokesmen said.

“We won’t load any oil because no ship is able to anchor at
our facility due to rough seas,” said a spokesman for
state-controlled Petroleum Development Oman (PDO), an affiliate
of Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L: ).

Phet hit Sur, where Oman’s three LNG production facilities,
known as trains, are located, but no damage has been reported.
Oman produces around 8 million tonnes of LNG per year.

Oman LNG shut down one train on Thursday and was shutting
down its remaining trains on Friday, Oman LNG spokesman Nasser
al-Kindy said, adding that Qalhat LNG, which supplies Spain and
Japan, would also be shutting down its trains.

Omani state television said heavy rains were expected on
Friday in Muscat, located near the port of Mina al-Fahal, where
Oman’s crude is exported. But Busaidy said the port had not been
damaged. “The Mina Fahal exporting facility is fine,” he said.

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(Writing by Erika Solomon; editing by Alison Williams)

UPDATE 3-Cyclone kills two, halts oil and gas in Oman