BP Plc, Enbridge Inc. and other companies returned workers to production platforms Sunday after Tropical Storm Karen was downgraded to a depression and passed by offshore assets on its way toward the mainland.

Karen’s maximum sustained winds fell to about 30 miles (48 kilometers) per hour with the storm’s center no longer well- defined, as of 11 a.m. New York time, the National Hurricane Center said in a bulletin. Karen may produce rainfall of 1 to 3 inches over parts of the central Gulf Coast and southeastern U.S. through tomorrow, the report said.

“You can’t even find the main area, the main center on satellite anymore,” Shawn O’Neil, a Slidell, Louisiana-based meteorologist for the National Weather Service said by telephone Sunday. “It stayed south of the coast, did not make landfall, and it’s moving due east right now.”

Before Karen was downgraded, the storm’s threat shut almost 62 percent of Gulf oil production, some 866,000 barrels of oil per day, and 48 percent of natural gas output, or 1.8 billion cubic feet daily, as of yesterday, according to the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement. Those numbers were cut today as workers returned to their platforms.

Chevron Corp.’s 330,000-barrel-a-day Pascagoula, Mississippi refinery returned to normal, the company said today. Royal Dutch Shell Plc had cut rates at its 85,000 barrel-a-day plant in Mobile, Alabama, and Motiva Enterprises LLC reduced output at the 250,000 barrel-a-day Norco, Louisiana, refinery due to delays caused by Karen, Shell said on its website Saturday.

11th Storm

Also over the weekend:

  • Anadarko Petroleum Corp. returned workers to Gulf of Mexico platforms, the company said.
  • The Louisiana Offshore Oil Port planned to resume tanker loading, spokeswoman Barbara Hestermann said by e-mail. LOOP, the only U.S. port capable of offloading ultra-large crude carriers, had suspended tanker operations, the Covington, Louisiana-based company said on its website.
  • Destin Pipeline was assessing its system and said it may end a force majeure in the next 12 to 24 hours, according to a notice on its website. BP oil and natural gas production remained shut-in as the company worked to confirm platforms were able to operate safely.
  • Enbridge’s Manta Ray system was prepared to return to service, the company said in a notice. The company ended a force majeure for its Mississippi Canyon gas pipeline on Oct. 5, at which time another notice said workers returned to the Garden Banks gas pipeline today. The Nautilus system was accepting nominations today, the company’s site showed. Marathon Oil Corp. returned workers today to its Ewing Bank site.

Karen was the 11th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, which began June 1 and ends Nov. 30.

–With assistance from Dan Murtaugh and Harry R. Weber in Houston. Editors: Richard Bravo, Sylvia Wier