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Gulf of Mexico oil production slowly returning after Tropical Storm Cristobal


About 31%, or 575,541 b/d, of Gulf crude remains offline

About 33%, or 898 MMcf/d, of Gulf natural gas still shut in

Occidental prepares to resume Gulf oil production

  • Author
  • Jordan Blum
  • Editor
  • Jennifer Pedrick
  • Commodity
  • Natural Gas Oil

Houston — US Gulf of Mexico oil producers have returned about 60,000 b/d back into service after about 35% of the Gulf's oil and gas production was temporarily taken offline as Tropical Storm Cristobal passed through the region.

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Some crude production returned on June 9 as the US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement reduced its shut-in estimate from a peak of 635,781 b/d down to 575,541 b/d, meaning that 31% of US Gulf production remained shut in. BSEE decreased its natural gas shut-in estimate from 952 MMcf/d down to 898 MMcf/d, keeping 33% of the gas volumes offline.

BP, Occidental Petroleum and other producers that shut in some volumes said they are working to resume operations and production volumes.

"We have begun safely returning staff to some our GOM platforms, with plans to return personnel to all facilities on Tuesday," Oxy said in a statement late June 8. "When safe to do so, we will begin bringing production back online."

Ahead of Cristobal's move onshore, BSEE said, operators evacuated 188 platforms and rigs in the Gulf — roughly 30% of the US Gulf's total platforms with working personnel — and relocated several drillships. BSEE said 124 platforms and rigs remained evacuated on June 9.

BP had reduced outputs at its Thunder Horse, Atlantis and Na Kika platforms in the Gulf. Those three BP-operated platforms churn out more than 200,000 boe/d. BP's Mad Dog platform was not affected.

"BP has started to resume normal operations at its four operated platforms in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico," BP said in a June 8 statement.

Cristobal battered southern Mexico and shut down ports over the past week, before moving through the Gulf and spreading heavy rainfall from Louisiana to Florida. The storm hit just as oil prices were moving up, with the OPEC+ group agreeing to extend deeper production cuts at least through July and front-month NYMEX WTI flirting with hitting $40/b for the first time since early March.

Total Gulf oil production was nearly 2 million b/d before the coronavirus pandemic cratered global demand and oil prices. BSEE was estimating Gulf oil production at closer to 1.85 million b/d before Cristobal.

However, S&P Global Platts Analytics data estimates that Gulf crude oil production will fall to an estimated 1.62 million b/d average for June as some producers reduced their volumes because of lower prices.

In Mexico, Pemex had to shutter production at some of its wells in the area struck by storms Amanda and Cristobal for 10 working days between May and June, CEO Octavio Romero said during a press conference June 7.

Romero did not say how many wells were affected or where they are located. Amanda hit Mexico on May 31, passing through the states of Campeche, Chiapas, Oaxaca, Tabasco and Veracruz. Only Chiapas does not have oil or gas infrastructure from Pemex.