Oil and Gas

Oil Firms Boost Output from US Gulf after Storm


Oil companies increased oil and natural gas output from the offshore Gulf of Mexico on Saturday, recovering from a tropical depression that dealt the biggest blow to the region's energy production in two years.

As of 1230 EDT , some 757,608 barrels per day or, 58.3% of the region's crude oil output remained shut -- an improvement from the 62.7% shut on Friday, the U.S. Minerals Management Service said in a report.

Another 1.938 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas, or 25.2% of the region's gas production was also still shut, from 30.8% on Friday, the MMS said.

Energy companies began flying crews back out to offshore oil and gas platforms Friday after the foul weather passed through the eastern Gulf of Mexico without strengthening into a severe storm.

Worries that the cluster of wind squalls would become a destructive tempest triggered mass evacuations from offshore platforms earlier in the week, fueling a record rally in oil prices to over $84 a barrel.

The Gulf of Mexico is home to 1.3 million bpd of crude production, a quarter of the nation's domestic output, and 7.7 bcfd of natural gas production.

Analysts said that a series of accidents and oil spills in the energy industry in recent years, along with fresh memories of the destructive hurricanes in 2005, had made oil companies react much more cautiously to the storm than they may have in the past.

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 temporarily knocked out a quarter of U.S. crude and fuel production, toppling offshore platforms, wrecking undersea pipelines, flooding coastal refineries and sending energy prices to then-record highs.