For the third straight week, a major storm disrupted oil production in the Gulf of Mexico, with Hurricane Emily's passage to the south forcing the evacuation and shutdown of 30 production platforms, a federal agency said Monday.
The Minerals Management Service, which surveyed oil companies, said 12,851 barrels of normal daily production in the Gulf were being kept off of market, along with 58.7 million cubic feet of natural gas.
The shut-in production, through, represented only 0.9 percent of the Gulf's normal daily oil production of 1.5 million barrels and 0.6 percent of the normal daily gas production of 10 billion cubic feet.
In addition to production platforms, the MMS said 12 drilling rigs had been evacuated in the Gulf because of Emily, which slammed into Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula on Monday as a Category 4 storm.
On July 11, a day after Hurricane Dennis hit the Gulf Coast, 359 of the 819 staffed platforms in the Gulf were shut down, interrupting 96 percent of the region's normal daily oil production. Virtually all of that production had been restored by Friday.
Beginning with pre-Dennis evacuations of platforms on July 8, the storm interrupted the production of 5.29 million barrels of oil and 23.3 billion cubic feet of gas, the MMS said.
After the Fourth of July weekend, evacuations from Tropical Storm Cindy, which hit Louisiana, delayed the production of 312,127 barrels of oil and 1.7 billion cubic feet of natural gas, the MSS said.
The busy storm season, to this stage, had spared Gulf production platforms the heavy damage — and long outages — that Hurricane Ivan left behind last fall. Almost 44 million barrels of oil production were lost because of Ivan between September 2004 and February 2005, while natural gas output declined over the same period by 172 billion cubic feet.
Normal annual Gulf production totals 547.5 million barrels of oil and 3.65 trillion cubic feet of gas.