August 24, 2009 / 4:03 PM / in 9 years

UPDATE 1-Storm Bill slows in North Atlantic, refineries OK

* Bill now classified as post-tropical storm

* No deaths reported in Canada, two killed in U.S.

* No damage expected to Canada’s energy producers (Adds details, lifting of storm warnings, quote)

By John McCrank

ST JOHN’S, Newfoundland, Aug 24 (Reuters) - Canada lifted storm and surge warnings on Monday as Hurricane Bill slowed to to a post-tropical storm that will peter out as it moves across cold north Atlantic waters.

The storm, which killed two people in the United States over the weekend, passed close to Atlantic Canada’s oil, natural gas and refinery operations, but apparently without causing major damage.

Exxon Mobile Corp (XOM.N) said there was no impact on its 98,200 barrel per day Hibernia offshore oil project southeast of St. John’s, and refineries in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia operated by Harvest Energy Trust HTE_u.TO and Imperial Oil Ltd (IMO.TO) were also running normally.

Exxon said it has yet to assess any damage to the Sable Offshore Energy Project off the coast of Nova Scotia, which was closer to the center of the storm.

Bill hit Newfoundland overnight at just under hurricane strength, bringing strong winds that downed trees and causing minor flooding. Environment Canada said the storm had moved across the island more quickly than expected.

“It could have been worse, but it was windy and there were some hurricane-strength gusts... and there was also a lot of rain in a short period of time,” said Herb Thoms, a meteorologist for Environment Canada in Gander, Newfoundland and Labrador.

“All in all, we came through pretty good.”

Power was being restored to some of the 40,000 homes and businesses in southern Nova Scotia where the eye of the hurricane passed offshore on Sunday. Bill did little serious damage to the provincial capital of Halifax.

While no deaths or serious injuries were reported in Canada, two deaths were reported in the United States.

A seven-year-old girl died late Sunday after she was pulled from the sea after a group of people were swept away by a huge wave along the coast of Maine, a Coast Guard spokesman said.

In central Florida, officials blamed heavy seas for the drowning of a 54-year-old Orlando man near New Smyrna Beach, local media reported. The man was washed ashore unconscious after swimming out to bodysurf in the waves.

Bill, the first hurricane of the 2009 season, also dumped rain on Bermuda and pushed powerful surf onto the shores of the 20-square-mile (52-sq-km) British territory, a center for the global insurance industry.

It also brought heavy surf, swells and rain to the U.S. Atlantic seaboard, including the island of Martha’s Vineyard, delaying the vacation of President Barack Obama and his family. (Additional reporting by Scott Haggett, editing by Rob Wilson and Janet Guttsman)

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